Health Tech

Report: Payers Aren’t Providing an Adequate Digital Experience

About 32% of health insurance sites and apps “don’t meet the foundational level of functionality and intuitive organization of information,” according to a new J.D. Power report.

Commercial health plans and Medicare Advantage plans are largely insufficient when it comes to providing members with a positive digital experience, a new report released Tuesday shows.

The inaugural J.D. Power U.S. Healthcare Digital Experience Study was done in partnership with Corporate Insight and analyzed members’ digital interactions with their health plans. It’s based on evaluations from 5,590 members of the “14 largest Medicare Advantage plans and 15 largest commercial member health plans.” In particular, it studied insurers’ desktop, mobile web and mobile apps based on five factors: visual appeal, information/content, navigation, speed and telehealth. The study was conducted from October to December 2023.

The report found that about 32% of health insurance sites and apps “don’t meet the foundational level of functionality and intuitive organization of information,” J.D. Power reported.

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“Digital is a critical consumer channel for health insurers that affects not only customer satisfaction with the insurance provider, but also with their employer,” said Michael Ellison, president of Corporate Insight, in a statement. “Yet, many insurers still have a long way to go when it comes to building highly functional digital solutions.”

In addition, the health insurance digital experience falls behind other industries, the report found. The overall digital experience customer satisfaction score for commercial health plans was 646 on a 1,000-point scale and 629 for Medicare Advantage plans. Meanwhile, the score was 700 for property and casualty insurers, 718 for self-directed wealth management apps and websites and 685 for retirement plans.

“While we see an up-tick in redesigns and more frequent website content upgrades and updates, health insurers still have a lot of work to do to get to a level of usability that’s comparable to property and casualty insurer digital channels,” Ellison said.

The report also found that only 21% of the health insurer digital programs met all of the criteria for “high-functioning digital solutions.” This includes clearly explaining coverage, giving information on deductibles and out-of-pocket spending and providing urgent telehealth services.

For commercial member health plans achieving overall satisfaction scores of 801 or above, 53% of members tend to hold a significantly more favorable perception of their employer. Similarly, among Medicare Advantage plans with overall satisfaction scores of 801 or higher, 89% of members express intentions to “definitely” renew their current plan.

Overall, the healthcare industry can look to other industries for best practices.

“Healthcare can learn from other industries in relation to leveraging digital to transform the customer experience,” said Christopher Lis, managing director of global healthcare intelligence at J.D. Power, in a statement. “World-class healthcare organizations are looking to banking, finance, retail and hospitality, among other industries, to gain insight into best practices to create excellence in omnichannel digital transformation. When healthcare is compared with other sectors, many lessons can be learned and integrated into the journey toward transformation.”

Photo: ValeryBrozhinsky, Getty Images