Improving health plan services that constrain costs and ease administrative hassles could go a long way toward keeping employers in the game as health care reform unfolds in 2014, according to a J.D. Power and Associates survey released Thursday.


Recent turmoil has sprung up around surveys on how likely employers are to drop coverage in the years following 2014, when the Affordable Care Act takes effect and the state exchanges begin.


Other research now suggests employers frustrated with specific service actions may be less likely to drop coverage if insurers give certain improvements.

For example, the survey found that processing claims accurately and effectively, providing customized cost management solutions and ensuring that the insurance carrier representative understands the employer’s specific needs, were found to have a particularly strong effect on raising employer satisfaction with health plans.


“As employers evaluate how implementation of health care reform will affect coverage for their employees, it’s critically important for health plans to understand what is really driving their satisfaction,” says Rick Millard, senior director of the health care practice at J.D. Power.


The survey further found that specific errors -- problems with claims processing and errors on member enrollment cards -- have a strong effect on employer satisfaction. Even a small percentage of errors can have a noticeable impact, J.D. Power notes.


J.D. Power ranks insurers based on employee plan service experience; account servicing; product offering/benefit design; problem resolution; and cost/cost management.


Among fully-insured plans, Kaiser ranked highest followed by CIGNA, Aetna, UnitedHealthcare, Humana and WellPoint/Anthem. Among self-insured plans, UnitedHealthcare ranked highest, followed by CIGNA, WellPoint/Anthem, and Aetna.

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