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Power(s) to the People!

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A new national survey bodes ill for segments of the health care industry.

Well-known marketing information firm J. D. Powers & Associates, perhaps best known for their auto maker rankings, has released the results of its first comprehensive study of health insurance plan satisfaction. The study, based on a survey of over 10,000 consumers, asked about who we trust most on issues of staying healthy and where to get the best care. Most folks, of course, cited their own doc's; some two-thirds named their own primary care physician and another third mentioned their specialists. In an odd addendum, it was noted that just 2% trust their employers most.

I don't know about you (of course), but I'm surprised it's that high! Why would anyone (who doesn't work in a medical practice) presume that their employer would have the slightest clue, let alone trust them "the most?"

Equally disturbing, though, was the finding that as many as 6% trusted the government the most when it came to their health care. That's scary!

According to Powers' David Stefan (executive director of health care practice), “employers have a financial stake in what you do health-wise. Employees might be thinking, ‘Maybe this wellness information is more about lowering health costs than caring about my health.’”

Um, dunh?

On a brighter note, the study found that member satisfaction often depends on how information is received: the highest customer satisfaction ratings, for example, were associated with live customer service (hear that, 800# vendors?!). And Web-based interactions, including email, also earned high marks. Automated phone-based methods were a big turn-off (anyone actually surprised by that?).

There was one item that really bothered me, and which, if not a "blip," could spell trouble for my own industry, was that folks were least satisfied where their interaction with the plan was through brokers.

I'll definitely keep that in mind.

Henry Stern, LUTCF, CBC is an independent insurance agent in Dayton, OH. A licensed Continuing Education instructor for Ohio and Kentucky, he has well over 20 years of experience in “the biz.” He blogs every day (or so it seems) at InsureBlog.

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from InsureBlog on Sun, 04/01/2007 - 7:57am

This week, we learn about a new national survey, the results of which bode ill for segments of the health care industry.

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