Health Plans Deliver The Worst Customer Experience

This post examines the 13 health plans included in the 2012 Temkin Experience Ratings.

Kaiser Permanente was the top rated health plan, the only plan to receive an “okay” rating, but it is only ranked 87th overall. TriCare, Medicare, Aetna, United Healthcare, Humana, Empire BCBS, Blue Shield of CA, and CIGNA all received “poor” ratings. Four plans received “very poor” ratings and are ranked in the bottom seven across all 18 industries: Highmark BCBS, Health Net, Medicaid, and Anthem BCBS.

Health plans represented the lowest rated industry, and only one of three industries to receive an average rating of “poor.”

The industry, however, experienced a modest two percentage point improvement between 2011 and 2012. Ten health plans were included in both the 2011 and 2012 Temkin Experience Ratings. Kaiser Permanente had a double-digit improvement in its score while five other plans increased their score by five or more points: Anthem BCBS, Aetna, United Healthcare, CIGNA, and Humana.

Do you want to see the data? Go to the Temkin Ratings website where you can sort through all of the results for free. You can even purchase the underlying data if you want to get more access.

The bottom line: Health plans have a chronic case of poor customer experience

About Bruce Temkin
I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, marketing, interaction design, customer service, and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

5 Responses to Health Plans Deliver The Worst Customer Experience

  1. Joseph K says:

    Bruce..as always I enjoy reading your materials with great interest. As someone that worked in Financial services and now in Healthcare I wonder about your thoughts on this, and it could be that you have addressed this already. It is a little bit of a devil’s advocate argument but one I shall make nonetheless.
    To what extent does the mindset of a customer when interacting with a vertical influence their ratings about their CX? How much of it is weighed by a truly poor interaction, and how much is based on their mindset when interacting with the business? For eg in Healthcare, one mostly interacts with these companies when there is a medical event (something bad has happened to myself or someone I love) and the natural mental state is a negative one. While there is NO DOUBT that healthcare needs a great deal more work on CX both online and offline, I do feel there is a bias there in CX that simply will not go away. Companies like KP that can control the wider experience due to the nature of their company have a bit of an advantage over some of the other Insurance companies. Anyway, I am curious to hear your thoughts on this as I am sure you have interacted with many of the players in this field. As always, keep up the brilliant work!

    Joseph

    • Chris Bailey says:

      Joseph, you raise a very interesting and salient question. It’s difficult to guess at the answer and am wondering if Bruce has released the survey set and methodology used to capture the data. Plus, has there been any qualitative followup on the survey data to further elaborate on the above results?

      • Bruce Temkin says:

        Chris: We try to be completely transparent with our methodologies; we actually give away the Temkin Experience Ratings report for free. For those that want to dig deeper, we even sell the specific dataset at our Temkin Ratings website. We did not ask any qualitative questions in this survey, but we have many more areas of analysis on the dataset, including the rest of our 2012 Temkin Ratings. Next up will be the Temkin Loyalty Ratings and then after that report we’ll publish our analysis of the correlation between CX and loyalty across all 18 industries. We also have a number of other deep-dives into health plans and health care in general.

    • Bruce Temkin says:

      Joseph: Thanks for the comment. I do think that companies have a “vertical mindset” and there is probably a different “normal range” that every industry can achieve. What’s interesting is the wide range of scores across industries. I really like the industry high/low/average chart because it points out that there’s a lot of overlap in performance across industries. So companies that are performing poorly can’t hide behind the “our industry is different” excuse. I do think that KP probably may have a more advantageous portfolio of interactions than other pure health plans. But the bottom line is that there’s room for improvement across the entire industry.

  2. ingrid says:

    Joseph~
    Great question… I’ve actuslly stopped trying to compare Kaiser to the rest of the industry… Their model is so inherently different, it is almost impossible to compare… I think that the industry as a whole has to figure out how to deal with the fact that we are primarily at the service of the employer client – they pay the majority of the bill… As we move away from the employer hilding the purse strings (and msking benefit design decisions that we have to administer) to a model where we are selling directly to consumers – and they directly can control the levers that will affect cost – that is when the rubber really hits the road. Question to the community who works in insurance.. What are your three top dissatisfiers? I’d be willing to bet they are all around plan design.

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