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J.D. Power And Associates Reports: As Health Plans In Various States Prepare For Increasing Health Insurance Enrollments, Many Health Plan Members Consider Using Health Insurance Exchanges

"Income-eligible members with high out-of-pocket costs and less tenure with a health plan are most likely to try exchanges," said Millard. "The exchange also appeals to those working at small companies who want to take more direct control over their healthcare expenses."

Satisfaction is highest among health plan members in the Michigan, Texas and East South Central regions, and is lowest among those in the Mountain and Colorado regions.

Health plans ranking highest in their respective regions (in alphabetical order) are Anthem Health Plans of New Hampshire; AvMed Health Plans; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas; Geisinger Health Plan; Health Alliance Plan (HAP) of Michigan; HealthPartners; Independent Health Association; Kaiser Foundation Health Plan (which ranks highest in the California, Colorado, South-Atlantic and Mid-Atlantic regions); PacificSource Health Plans; SelectHealth; and UnitedHealthcare.

J.D. Power offers the following tips to health plan members and consumers who are shopping for health insurance coverage:
  • When shopping for a health insurance plan, consider the cost-to-benefit ratio. Generally speaking, the higher the cost, the higher the number of plan features and healthcare provider flexibility. Conversely, while lower-cost plans may provide lower premiums, they may also provide fewer choices of plan features or healthcare providers.
  • If you purchase coverage on your own, research state-sponsored health insurance exchanges to learn how they work, and particularly how your state's exchange will be offered. Beginning later this year, you may qualify for state exchanges if your income is within a certain range or if you work for a small company, which may mean the possibility of more choices of coverage at a lower cost.
  • While some states are implementing exchange ratings programs based on health plan quality (e.g., did the doctor order the right tests), be sure to review J.D. Power and Associates health plan rankings, which are based on member satisfaction, to see how your plan compares in the rankings.
  • Understand your coverage. Health insurance plans are sometimes difficult to understand, with complex rules for deductibles, co-payments and other expenses. If you don't have a clear understanding of the coverage and you have a choice of plans, opt for the simpler approach. For example, you may be more satisfied with fewer choices of healthcare providers in order to have coverage with less complicated costs.

The 2013 Member Health Plan Study is based on responses from more than 33,000 members of 136 commercial health plans across 17 regions in the United States. The study was fielded in December 2012 and January 2013. For more comprehensive health plan rankings for all 17 U.S. regions, please visit

Regions Included in the Member Health Plan Study California Colorado East South Central (Includes Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee) Florida Heartland (Includes Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma) Illinois- Indiana Michigan Mid-Atlantic (Includes Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.) Minnesota- Wisconsin Mountain (Includes Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah) New England (Includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont) New York- New Jersey Northwest (Includes Idaho, Oregon and Washington) Ohio Pennsylvania South-Atlantic (Includes Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina) Texas

Top Three Plans in Overall Member Satisfaction by Region

California* Highest: Kaiser Foundation Health PlanBlue Shield of California

Colorado Highest: Kaiser Foundation Health Plan AetnaUnitedHealthcare

East South Central Highest: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama Blue Cross Blue Shield of LouisianaBlue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee

Florida Highest: AvMed Health Plans AetnaCignaHumana Florida Blue

Heartland Highest: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City Blue Cross Blue Shield of OklahomaWellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Iowa

Illinois- Indiana* Highest: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Health Alliance Medical Plans

Michigan Highest: Health Alliance Plan of Michigan Blue Cross Blue Shield of MichiganPriority Health

Mid-Atlantic* Highest: Kaiser Foundation Health PlanCareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield

Minnesota- Wisconsin Highest: HealthPartnersDean Health PlanBlue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota

Mountain Highest: SelectHealthBlue Cross Blue Shield of ArizonaRegence Blue Cross Blue Shield  of Utah

New England Highest: Anthem Health Plans of New Hampshire Tufts Associated Health PlansBlue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island

New York- New Jersey Highest: Independent Health AssociationCDPHPEmpire Blue Cross Blue Shield

Northwest Highest: PacificSource Health PlansGroup Health CooperativeBlue Cross of IdahoPremera Blue Cross

Ohio Highest: UnitedHealthareMedical Mutual of OhioHumana

Pennsylvania Highest: Geisinger Health PlanUPMC Health PlanHighmark Blue Shield

South-Atlantic Highest: Kaiser Foundation Health PlanCignaUnitedHealthcare

Texas* Highest: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas Aetna

* No other plan in this region performs above the region average.

About J.D. Power and AssociatesHeadquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company providing forecasting, performance improvement, social media and customer satisfaction insights and solutions. The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

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