It’s gotta be tough to lead a major health insurance carrier (except for the high salary, of course). Insurance companies generally are vilified by the mainstream press, disliked by consumers and now there’s news that employers don’t like them much either.

According to J.D. Power and Associates’ inaugural U.S. Employer Health Insurance Plan Study, employers express relatively low levels of satisfaction with their primary health insurance carrier.

Overall satisfaction averages 611 on a 1,000-point scale — even less than the already-low levels of satisfaction among health plan members in the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 U.S. Member Health Insurance Plan Study.

Ouch.

The inaugural study examined overall satisfaction of small business owners, employer benefits administrators and HR executives with contracted health plans and pharmacy benefits managers.

The study measured five key factors affecting satisfaction that some 4,800 employers ranked in order of importance: employee plan service experience, account servicing, product offering/product design, problem resolution and cost/cost management.

Even as employers say their top concern these days is controlling costs, they tell J.D. Power that the customer service experience with their primary carrier is more important than cost management. Interesting, no?

Do you believe these results, or are employers just telling surveyors what they want to hear again? How would you rank those five factors in a search for a new carrier or evaluating satisfaction with your current one? Sound off in the comments.

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