Each fall, millions of Americans face a daunting question: Which health insurance plan is right for me?
There is a lot riding on the answer. Health insurance is costly, and you typically are stuck with whatever choice you make for the entire year. So, it makes sense to get a head start on zeroing in on the best health insurance plan for you.
Fortunately, J.D. Power is making the task a little easier. It recently released its 2021 rankings of commercial health plans in the U.S.
The rankings were made for a mix of regions and states.
Plans were rated based on customer satisfaction in six areas:
- Billing and payment
- Coverage and benefits
- Customer service
- Information and communication
- Provider choice
The top-rated commercial health insurance plan in each region or state included in the survey, and how it scored in that area, are as follows:
- California: Kaiser Foundation Health Plan (overall customer satisfaction score of 782 out of 1,000 points)
- Colorado: Kaiser Foundation Health Plan (739)
- East South Central (Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee): Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama (760)
- Florida: Humana (777)
- Heartland (Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma): Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma (742)
- Illinois/Indiana: Cigna (742)
- Maryland: CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (759)
- Massachusetts: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (731)
- Michigan: Health Alliance Plan of Michigan (742)
- Minnesota/Wisconsin: HealthPartners (725)
- Mountain (Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming): Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah (744)
- New Jersey: Cigna (736) and Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey (736)
- New York: Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan (774)
- Northeast (Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont): Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (722)
- Northwest (Oregon and Washington): Kaiser Foundation Health Plan (747)
- Ohio: Cigna (722)
- Pennsylvania: Geisinger Health Plan (744)
- South Atlantic (Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina): Kaiser Foundation Health Plan (791)
- Southwest (Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico): Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Nevada (742)
- Texas: Humana (764)
- Virginia: Cigna (777)
J.D. Power did not say why not all states were included in the study.
The study also found that the COVID-19 pandemic greatly accelerated the use of telemedicine, with 36% of privately insured health plan members in the U.S. using telemedicine services. That is up from just 9% a year ago.
J.D. Power says the expanded use of telemedicine helped boost overall member satisfaction with health plans by 10 points on a 1,000-point scale.
In a press release, James Beem, managing director of global health care intelligence at J.D. Power, says:
“The past year has proven without a doubt that effective use of digital channels has the power to increase customer engagement, build trust and promote brand advocacy.”
The study also found that younger members are much more likely to have contact with their health plan, with 62% of Generation Z and 52% of Generation Y members reporting using their health plan’s customer service at least once over the past year.
That compares to just 49% among pre-boomers/baby boomers. Overall, 37% of members had no engagement with their health plan.
How to save more for health care costs
The J.D. Power survey reveals how important it is to do your research when choosing a health insurance plan. Another way to improve your health care experience — and to save a little money — is to open a health savings account if you are eligible for one.
As we have reported:
“An HSA can help you stretch your health care dollars and build your retirement savings at the same time, as long as you’re eligible for one and you spend the money in your HSA on eligible expenses.”
For more, check out “3 Ways a Health Savings Account Can Improve Your Finances.”
Money Talks News contributor Miranda Marquit — who wrote the story — uses MTN partner Lively as her HSA custodian. She says the tools Lively offers have made it easier for her to save.
Not eligible for an HSA? Check out “7 Ways Anyone Can Cut Their Health Care Costs.”