Entries in health plans (52)

Friday
Aug182017

Medicare Advantage plans are rethinking member experience

Kristin Rodriguez, Health Plan Alliance. August 18, 2017

One of my favorite moments during our Medicare Advantage Value Visit, July 19-21 was when Melissa Smith, Vice President, Stars & Quality Innovations with Gorman Health Group said the highest performing health plans are the ones “making old school new again.” The point she was making? That which sets high performing health plans apart is the ability to execute at the member level.  The flavor of how health plans are tackling that member-level execution differed with each case study we explored during our time together last month, and yet the same theme presented again and again, with every conversation.  Elevating and protecting the member experience is paramount to ensuring strong market position, better outcomes and higher star ratings.

The “member experience” is a relatively new, hot topic for MA plans, though really it’s just a consolidation of the efforts we’ve been making for a long time, reframed into a global strategy that is bringing leaders from across the enterprise together to tackle challenging issues like these: making member facing materials more palatable, leveraging digital channels to enhance engagement, evaluating our MA portfolio with an eye on social determinants of health and guarding against chronic loneliness, building dashboards our provider partners actually care about, so they can deliver the care to those members that need it most, and, finally, ensuring appropriate payment so that we can finance that care.

 

The challenge facing all Alliance member health plans and our provider partners as we seek to “execute at the member level” are the barriers we and our members face, which have traditionally been outside any health plan’s influence or control.  With the industry transformation to value based purchasing and the steady march of quality ratings programs’ focus to outcomes and experience, health plans must drive care from the clinic to the community, and forge partnerships that empower care for the “whole person.”  Our MA members face crippling chronic conditions like depression and diabetes, not to mention persistent loneliness.  And even for our healthy senior population, ensuring a benefit mix that supports long term health and happiness can be challenging when it comes time to submit a bid that both differentiates your plan and is sustainable.

Experts like John Gorman agree that Medicare Advantage is a sound investment for health plans, with strong market growth providing solid opportunity for health plans looking to diversify and perhaps stabilize their portfolio.  To become a high performing MA health plan, however, organizations must be willing to identify and remove barriers preventing them from executing at the member level.  No matter what’s potentially holding you back, you can bet another Alliance member health plan is facing a similar challenge, or perhaps has even found a way to solve it. Through ongoing networking in-person and virtually, and by sharing our tools and lessons learned, we can help one another make “old school new again.”

Friday
Aug042017

More on Medicaid Satisfaction: J.D. Power finds Medicaid Members More Satisfied Than Commercial Plan Members

More on Medicaid Satisfaction: J.D. Power finds Medicaid Members More Satisfied Than Commercial Plan Members
 

by Clive Riddle, August 4, 2017

Recently, we  posted about The July 10 , 2017 Research Letter published in JAMA, A National Survey of Medicaid Beneficiaries’ Expenses and Satisfaction With Health Care, which found that “Medicaid enrollees gave their overall health care an average rating of 7.9 on a 0 to 10 scale. Forty-six percent gave their Medicaid coverage a score of 9 or 10, while only 7.6% gave scores under 5.” We noted these relatively high satisfaction levels occur despite a study published in the May 2017 Health Affairs: Outpatient Office Wait Times And Quality Of Care For Medicaid Patients which found Medicaid patients were 20 percent more likely than others to wait 20 minutes or longer. We also noted Medicaid managed care satisfaction rates were also measured last summer, under a survey commissioned by AHIP, which found 87 percent were satisfied with their Medicaid coverage and benefits.

This week J.D. Power published a 2017 Managed Medicaid Special Report, which concludes that “Medicaid recipients are more satisfied with their coverage than traditional, commercial health plan members.” Their study measured “overall satisfaction with managed Medicaid organizations based on six factors (in order of importance): provider choice; coverage and benefits; customer service; cost; information and communication; and claims processing. Satisfaction is calculated on a 1,000-point scale.”

The study found that:

·           Overall managed Medicaid satisfaction averaged a 784 score

·           The Medicaid average score was 78 points higher than the commercial health plan score for 2017

·           Medicaid enrollees indicate provider choice as the most important factor of overall member experience

·           In contrast, commercial members list coverage and benefits as the key driver of satisfaction

·           42% of Medicaid managed care members deferred medical treatments due to cost

·           40% of Medicaid managed care members avoided buying prescription medications due to cost

Given that Medicaid is administered and differs at the state level, the study addressed state differences, and reports that “Medicaid recipients in states where a dominant regional plan or a plan that owns a health system have the easiest access to doctors and hospitals, underscoring the importance of building robust networks and focusing on coordination of care between providers. Iowa, Tennessee, Arizona and Indiana have the easiest access to doctors and hospitals, compared with the other states included in the study.”

The report also share that “the states with the highest levels of satisfaction among Medicaid recipients are Utah (885), Iowa (859), Colorado (854), Arizona (840) and Virginia (840). The lowest-performing states in terms of overall recipient satisfaction are Kansas (683), Mississippi (686), Delaware (716), New Jersey (728) and California (731).”

 
Friday
Jun022017

Nine Things to Know About J.D. Powers 2017 Member Health Plan Study Results

By Clive Riddle, June 2, 2017

 

J.D. Powers has just released their 2017 Member Health Plan Study Results. J.D. Powers tells us this 11th annual study “measures satisfaction among members of 168 health plans in 22 regions throughout the United States by examining six key factors: coverage and benefits; provider network; communication; claims processing; premiums; and customer service. The study also touches on several other key aspects of the experience including plan enrollment and member engagement.” The study is based on responses from 33,624 commercial health plan members and was fielded in January-March 2017.

 

The study assigns scores to each plan based on the above criteria based upon a possible 1,000 point scale. Here are nine things to know about their findings:

 1.     J.D. Powers found that “Integrated delivery systems dominate rankings: Health plans that utilize an integrated delivery system (IDS)—a network of healthcare and health insurance organizations presented to members as a single delivery organization—outperform traditional health plans on every factor measured in the study.”

 2.       Even though narrow networks have often been presented negatively in the media, the study found otherwise: “Regardless of product choice, members who were presented with lower-cost narrow network options were significantly more satisfied with their health plan versus those who were not offered such an option or did not know whether it was offered. However, just 33% of respondents say they were offered a narrow network option.”

 3.       J.D. Powers found that “the effect of payer-provider alliances is mixed: Aetna, Cigna, Anthem, and many other providers have begun to offer commercial products in collaboration with specific providers in the past few years.”

 4.       Satisfaction is highest among health plan members in the five regions: Maryland (723); East South Central (722); California (716); Michigan (716); and Ohio (714).

 5.       Satisfaction is lowest among members in the Colorado (676) and Northeast (682) regions.

 6.       The highest score achieved by any major plan was 794 (Kaiser in Maryland.)

 7.       Kaiser by far had the most regional top scores for major health plans with six: (California, Colorado, Maryland, Northwest, South Atlantic, Virginia)

 8.       The lowest score achieved by any major plan was a tie between Coventry (Aetna) in the Heartland region, and Blue Cross Blue Shield Montana in the Mountain region, both with 653. Given the regional average in the Mountain region (706) was higher than in the Heartland (693), the tiebreaker for Bottom performer would go to BCBS Montana.

 9.       UnitedHealthcare and subsidiaries by far had the most bottom regional bottom scores for major health plans with thirteen:  (Colorado, Delaware/WV/DC, East South Central, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Northwest, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Southwest, Virginia)

 

Here are the top and bottom performers of major health plans for each of J.D. Powers 22 defined regions with their respective scores, along with the average score for the region:

 

California

Top: Kaiser 780

Average: 716

Bottom: Aetna 683

 

Colorado

Top: Kaiser 725

Average: 676

Bottom: United 661

 

Delaware/WV/DC

Top: Highmark 712

Average: 691

Bottom: United 666

 

East South Central (AL, KY, LA, MS, TN)

Top: BCBS Tennessee 735

Average: 722

Bottom: United 684

 

Florida

Top: AvMed 733

Average: 702

Bottom: United 694

 

Heartland (AR, IA, KS, MO, NE, OK)

Top: Wellmark BCBS Iowa 723

Average: 693

Bottom: Coventry (Aetna) 653

 

Illinois-Indiana

Top: Health Alliance Medical Plans 723

Average: 708

Bottom: Coventry (Aetna) 666

 

Maryland

Top: Kaiser 794

Average: 723

Bottom: United 693

 

Massachusetts

Top: BCBSMass 707

Average: 703

Bottom: Cigna 664

 

Michigan

Top: Health Alliance Plan of Michigan 750

Average: 716

Bottom: United 672

 

Minnesota-Wisconsin

Top: Unity Health Plans 737

Average: 695

Bottom: Cigna 679

 

Mountain (ID, MT, UT, WY)

Top: SelectHealth 727

Average: 706

Bottom: BCBS Montana 653

 

New Jersey

Top: Horizon BCBS 712

Average: 705

Bottom: United 693

 

New York

Top: Capital District Physicians Health Plan 755

Average: 702

Bottom: Oxford (United) 658

 

Northeast (CT, ME, NH, RI, VT)

Top: BCBS Vermont 725

Average: 682

Bottom: Harvard Pilgrim 666

 

Northwest (OR, WA)

Top: Kaiser 751

Average: 697

Bottom: United 644

 

Ohio

Top: Medical Mutual of Ohio 720

Average: 714

Bottom: United 695

 

Pennsylvania

Top: UPMC 739

Average: 702

Bottom: United 672

 

South Atlantic (GA, NC, SC)

Top: Kaiser 791

Average: 707

Bottom: Aetna 696

 

Southwest (AZ, NV, NM)

Top: BCBS AZ 704

Average: 693

Bottom: Health Plan of NV (United) 661

 

Texas

Top: NA

Average: 710

Bottom: Aetna 686

 

Virginia

Top: Kaiser 769

Average: 702

Bottom: United 699

Monday
Apr242017

6 Ways to Improve Your Member Communications

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 By Claire Thayer, April 24, 2017

Change Healthcare doubled member engagement for a regional health plan after introducing engagement best practices with a marketing mix that included email, blog posts, social media, a direct mail campaign, presentations to key group leaders and on-site workshops.

This special edition of the MCOL Infographic, co-sponsored by Change Healthcare, identifies 6 effective ways for health plans to improve communications with members:

 (Click to Enlarge Image)

(Click to Enlarge Image)

 

MCOL’s weekly infoGraphoid is a benefit for MCOL Basic members and released each Wednesday as part of the MCOL Daily Factoid e-newsletter distribution service – find out more here.

 

 
Friday
Apr072017

Health Plans and the Opiod Abuse Crisis

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By Clive Riddle, April 7, 2017

 

The Associated Press reports that Dr. Scott Gottlieb, “the doctor nominated to head the powerful Food and Drug Administration told senators Wednesday that his first priority would be tackling the opioid crisis.” 

 

What are health plans doing about Opiod Abuse? Last June, the California Health Care Foundation released  a report taking the issue on: Changing Course: The Role of Health Plans in Curbing the Opioid Epidemic, along with companion California health plan case studies and an infographic. Nationally, last fall AHIP weighed in, discussing how health plans are Fighting Opioid Abuse With Solutions That Work.

 

So what are some current developments on the health plan Opioid Abuse front?

 

Cigna has just announced that Use of Prescribed Opioids Down Nearly 12 Percent Over 12 Months Among Cigna Customers. Cigna reports that “58 medical groups participating in Cigna Collaborative Care, representing nearly 62,000 doctors, have signed Cigna's pledge to reduce opioid prescribing and to treat opioid use disorder as a chronic condition.”

 

Cigna states that their program works with participating doctors to: (1) Analyze integrated claims data across pharmacy and medical benefits to detect opioid use patterns that suggest possible misuse by individuals, and then notifying their health care providers; (2) Alert doctors when their opioid prescribing patterns are not consistent with CDC guidelines; and (3) Establish a database of opioid quality improvement initiatives for doctors.

 

Cigna also reports that “effective July 1, most new prescriptions for a long-acting opioid that are not being used as part of treatment for cancer or sickle cell disease, or for hospice care, will be subject to prior authorization, and most new prescriptions for a short-acting opioid will be subject to quantity limits.”

 

Last week the Wisconsin Association of Health Plans announced their member plans have jointly committed to combating opioid abuse and addiction in Wisconsin and effective April 1, Wisconsin's community-based health plans are collaborating on new initiatives.  The Association members agreed to: (1) support the Association’s Statement of Principles for addressing opioid abuse  that “form the basis for sharing information, best practices and evidence-based strategies”; (2) Track morphine equivalent dose and first-time user trends for their individual and employer group members,, generating comparative data to enrich provider education and management of prescription drug formularies and coverage policies; (3) Work with provider partners to support strategies to reduce and control the level of opioid prescribing; (4) Share methodologies, best practices and evidence-based strategies to improve the quality of pain management and opioid prescribing; and (5) Ensure that every member suffering from opioid abuse has access to medically-appropriate treatment options.

 

Two weeks ago BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York released episode four of their Point of Health Audiocast, “Addressing the Opioid Epidemic from a Health Plan Perspective,” aimed at increasing awareness of the issue and engaging stakeholders.

 

FamilyCare Health, a health plan serving Oregon Medicaid and Medicare members, “kicks off its 4-part Opioid Training series for providers on Thursday, April 27, 2017 with ‘Buprenorphine: What we know and what we don’t. Prescribing safely for pain management and opioid dependence.’ “

 

And last week, Prime Therapeutics, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association PBM, released two studies, highlighting strategies for addressing opioid epidemic.  The first study “analyzed concurrent use of opioids with benzodiazepines”, citing “previous research has shown concurrent use of these two types of drugs can increase the risk of overdose and death,” and “found more than one in six opioid users without cancer – or nine per 1,000 commercially insured members – used these two drugs concurrently for 30 days or more in 2015.” Their second study “found pharmacists based in a PBM or health plan, who do outreach to prescribers, can reduce emergency room visits and controlled substance drug costs among persistent users of controlled substances.” Following the outreach conducted with the study intervention group, “controlled substances drug costs per member for the intervention group dropped from $5,802 to $5,148, while controlled substance drug costs increased for the control group from $3,511 to $3,627 per member. Emergency department visits were 6.4 percent lower in the intervention group, compared with the control group.”