Health Plans Deliver The WORST Experience

In Forrester’s 2008 Customer Experience Index (CxPi), we ranked 113 companies across 12 industries. I recently published a snapshot of the health plan industry looking at the results from the eight plans on the list (Aetna, Anthem (BCBS), CIGNA, Kaiser, Medicaid, Medicare, TriCare, and United Healthcare). Here’s some of what we found:

  • Experiences are “very poor” and getting worse. As a group, the eight health plans ended up with a “very poor” rating of 51%; the lowest score of any of the 12 industries we examined. Making matters worse, the industry dropped three percentage points from the 2007 CxPi results. 
  • Kaiser led the pack. With an “okay” score of 70%, Kaiser led all health plans. All of the other plans ended up with ratings of either “poor” or “very poor.”
  • Medicaid is as bad as it gets. With a terrible rating of 38%, Medicaid was the lowest scoring plan. It also ended up in next to last place across all 113 organizations in our rankings.
  • Only Kaiser improved. When we compared the 2008 results with those from 2007, only Kaiser showed an improvement. CIGNA and Medicaid, on the other hand, declined the most.
  • Some big shifts in CxPi components. There were five double-digit changes in the scores for the three underlying elements of the CxPi: Kaiser’s improvement in being easy to work with and enjoyability, Anthem’s decline in enjoyability, and both CIGNA’s and Medicaid’s drop in being easy to work with.

The bottom line: Put customer experience on the health care reform agenda

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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, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding 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 Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

8 thoughts on “Health Plans Deliver The WORST Experience”

  1. Interesting that the plan with the lowest ranking, Medicaid, is the one our President prefers for us (NOT HIM OR CONGRESS OF COURSE). At least an employer can change carriers if the service is lacking. It’s a little harder to change GOVERNMENTS.

    1. Bill: I’m not sure that Obama is pushing Medicaid as the answer to health care, but the point is well taken about the merits of any government-driven solution…

      1. Bruce: Is the “Medicaid” plan and “Medicare” plan referenced in the report a managed care plan or is it truly federal Medicare fee-for-service and state Medicaid fee-for-service? An important distinction for sure.

      2. Susheel: That’s a good question, which unfortunately I can’t answer. Cosnumers were asked the following question “Which of the following medical insurance providers have you interacted with the most during the last 90 days?” and then were presented with a list of health plans that includes Medicaid and Medicare.

    2. Bill–

      Given the overall poor ratings of the entire industry, I am not sure who an unsatisfied customer can switch to. As for Kaiser’s ratings, I can only characterize them as “the prettiest pig on the truck…”

      This is an industry that is headed for a major change…higher rates, higher copays and deductibles, lower satisfaction ratings. These results are just unsustainable.

      With such levels and expense, it is clear that an upheaval, such as that proposed by Obama or some kind of voucher system or consumer-directed plan structure has to take place.

      Bruce–interested in your views when an entire industry segment is failing to satisfy its customers….are there any precedents? what is likely to transpire? any predictions?

      I have to say that companies looking at these statistics should smell an opportunity to establish differentiation, and quickly win marketshare. One would think….

  2. $749 to see which health plans rated poorly? Seems a bit excessive just to see who ranks lower than whom.

    1. Daniel: Agreed, that’s a lot of money for that short report. The majority of people that read Forrester’s research have corporate contracts that give them access to an ongoing stream of reports, they don’t pay for individual documents. But we have made the research available for other people to purchase online and sometimes the price may not match the value of an individual report. The good news is that you can chose not to buy it!

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