Even as enrollment spikes, customer satisfaction for Medicare Advantage plan members remains stable, according to the J.D. Power 2018 Medicare Advantage Study.
On a 1,000-point scale, Medicare Advantage plan enrollee customer satisfaction registered a score of 794, while plan enrollment saw an overall increase in 48 out of 50 states.
The study measures six factors to determine overall beneficiary satisfaction: coverage and benefits, customer service, claims processing, cost, provider choice, and information and communication.
The coordination of care offered by Medicare Advantage plans stands out as a highlight from the report. Among dual-eligible members surveyed, 61 percent strongly agree that their Medicare Advantage plan is a trusted partner, 77 percent say they “definitely will” recommend their plan and 77 percent will renew their current Medicare Advantage plan.1
Medicare Advantage plans are sold by private insurers and serve as an alternative option for receiving Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) benefits. The plans offer all the same benefits as Original Medicare while often providing extra perks such as coverage for dental, vision, hearing and prescription drugs.
Many plans even offer benefits like gym memberships, and the list of approved benefits could expand even more next year.
According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the average premium for a Medicare Advantage plan was expected to decrease by about six percent in 2018, to $30 per month. And 77 percent of beneficiaries who remain in their current plan are expected to have the same or lower premium as compared to 2017.
As plan costs go down, enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans is expected to go up yet again. The total number of Medicare Advantage enrollees is projected to hit more than 20 million people in 2019, which makes up more than one-third of all Medicare recipients. The total number of Medicare Advantage plans sold throughout the country is set to increase to around 2,734 in 2019.2
“That kind of surge can put a strain on member satisfaction,” said Valerie Monet, Senior Director of the Insurance Practice at J.D. Power in a press release about the findings. “But Medicare Advantage plans have managed to maintain comparatively high overall satisfaction scores.”
1 J.D. Power. Medicare Advantage Plan Member Satisfaction Holds Steady as Enrollment Surges, J.D. Power Finds. Retrieved June 28, 2018, from http://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/2018-medicare-advantage-study.
2 Kaiser Family Foundation. Medicare Advantage 2019 Spotlight: First Look. (Oct. 16, 2018.) Retrieved from www.kff.org/report-section/medicare-advantage-2019-spotlight-first-look-data-note.