“Best Website Content & Feature Picks for User Engagement” — May 31 GoToMeeting Invitation

Join HealthMetrix Research president Alan Mittermaier for this 45-minute GoToMeeting on May 31 2:00ET highlighting the 2017 MedicareWebWatch Project best picks for user engagement across selected website content and features.  There is no fee, however, this GoToMeeting is limited to 25 registered participants.  Simply complete and submit the information below for the GoToMeeting confirmation and sign-on instructions.

What Prevents Medicare Advantage Plans from Offering 5-Star Websites? [Part 3]

Posted by Alan Mittermaier

May 11, 2017

While only a handful of 2017 Medicare Advantage plans can boast 5-Star CMS overall performance ratings (total of 14 by my count), every plan is capable of building a 5-Star website for their key target audiences — plan members, caregivers, prospects.  Yet, after mapping Medicare plan websites annually since 2009 for the MedicareWebWatch project, it is still disappointing to observe the low engagement experience among so many websites.

The new 2017 MedicareWebWatch project findings breakout 13 “Benchmark” or 5-Star websites plus another 20 “Distinguished” websites.  These highly-rated websites are  not exclusively among the largest Medicare Advantage players.  Many mid-size plan websites are among the highest rated as well.  The common thread among these “Benchmark” and  “Distinguished” websites is their commitment to elevating the user engagement experience.

As a Medicare Advantage plan member and 67 year old boomer, I have a first-hand perspective both from navigating all 147 Medicare plan websites recently and from my daily use of an array of websites for personal purposes — news, banking, travel, purchases.  Below are two advance content features that every Medicare plan website should provide for enhancing the user engagement experience — with examples.

  1. New member orientation — Only 25% (36 of 147) of sites provide content or links to new member orientation materials or advice for new members.  Fallon Health and Presbyterian Health Plan offer the best examples.  Special mention to Priority Health for its “Medicare for Dummies” downloadable publication for both new members and prospects.  Providing new member orientation and/or new member advice on websites is an essential reinforcement strategy for maximizing long-term member retention
  2. Medicare reminders/health alerts — Just short of 35% (49 of 147) of sites offer Medicare reminders and/or health alerts.  Actually, excluding Medicare national coverage determination (NCDs) postings, there are zero websites offering Medicare reminders.  The primary source for Medicare alerts is the little-known Medicare blog maintained by Medicare.gov.  Go visit this resource and you will  likely wonder why it hasn’t always been linked to your plan’s website and social media platforms.   Best example for offering FDA drug safety alerts is Security Health Plan.  Best example for CDC health safety alerts is Kaiser Permanente.

(This is the third in a series highlighting the 2017 MedicareWebWatch project findings)

“Best Website Content & Feature Picks for User Engagement” — May 9 GoToMeeting Invitation

Join HealthMetrix Research president Alan Mittermaier for this 45-minute GoToMeeting on May 9 1:00ET highlighting the 2017 MedicareWebWatch Project best picks for user engagement across selected website content and features.  There is no fee, however, this GoToMeeting is limited to 25 registered participants.  Simply complete and submit the information below for the GoToMeeting confirmation and sign-on instructions.

What Prevents Medicare Advantage Plans from Offering 5-Star Websites? [Part 2]

Posted by Alan Mittermaier

April 24, 2017

While only a handful of 2017 Medicare Advantage plans can boast 5-Star CMS overall performance ratings (total of 14 by my count), every plan is capable of building a 5-Star website for their key target audiences — plan members, caregivers, prospects.  Yet, after mapping Medicare plan websites annually since 2009 for the MedicareWebWatch project, it is still disappointing to observe the low engagement experience among so many websites.

The new 2017 MedicareWebWatch project findings breakout 13 “Benchmark” or 5-Star websites plus another 20 “Distinguished” websites.  These highly-rated websites are  not exclusively among the largest Medicare Advantage players.  Many mid-size plan websites are among the highest rated as well.  The common thread among these “Benchmark” and  “Distinguished” websites is their commitment to elevating the user engagement experience.

As a Medicare Advantage plan member and 67 year old boomer, I have a first-hand perspective both from navigating all 147 Medicare plan websites recently and from my daily use of an array of websites for personal purposes — news, banking, travel, purchases.  Below are 2 simple bolt-on content features that every Medicare plan website should provide for enhancing the user engagement experience — with examples.

  1. Medical topic and drug information — Only 46% (67 of 147) of sites provide content or links to trusted resources for users seeking information on medical topics or drugs.  Pew internet research has consistently reported that among adult internet users, searching for medical information is one of the highest reported activities in terms of time spent .  CommunityCare and  Peoples Health (via StayWell) provide the best examples.  By far the easiest external content link setup is the free MedLine Plus-Senior Health (National Library of Medicine).
  2. Medicare national coverage determinations — Just short of 29% (42 of 147) of sites provide details related to CMS national coverage determinations (NCDs) for new diagnostic, therapeutic, treatment services.  Interestingly, a super-majority of plans are non-compliant with informing members when CMS issues such mid-year determinations — see 2017 Medicare Marketing Guidelines (p. 47).  Among compliant plans, check CDPHP and Rocky Mountain Health Plan.  NCD updates and details are available at CMS.gov .

(This is the second in a series highlighting the 2017 MedicareWebWatch project findings)

What Prevents Medicare Advantage Plans from Offering 5-Star Websites? [Part 1]

Posted by Alan Mittermaier

While only a handful of 2017 Medicare Advantage plans can boast 5-Star CMS overall performance ratings (total of 14 by my count), every plan is capable of building a 5-Star website for their key target audiences — plan members, caregivers, prospects.  Yet, after mapping Medicare plan websites annually since 2009 for the MedicareWebWatch project, it is still disappointing to observe the low engagement experience among so many websites.

The new 2017 MedicareWebWatch project findings breakout 13 “Benchmark” or 5-Star websites plus another 20 “Distinguished” websites.  These highly-rated websites are  not exclusively among the largest Medicare Advantage players.  Many mid-size plan websites are among the highest rated as well.  The common thread among these “Benchmark” and  “Distinguished” websites is their commitment to elevating the user engagement experience.

As a Medicare Advantage plan member and 67 year old boomer, I have a first-hand perspective both from navigating all 147 Medicare plan websites recently and from my daily use of an array of websites for personal purposes — news, banking, travel, purchases.  For starters, here are 5 simple bolt-on features that every Medicare plan website should provide for enhancing the user engagement experience — with examples.

  1. Site Map — Over 20% (31 of 147) of sites fail to provide a site map in either a drop-down format or a dedicated page.  This is comparable to publishing a book without a table of contents.  Aetna and  PrimeTime Health Plan provide the best examples.  No excuses for making website visitors  guess the location of content they wish to view.
  2. Search Box — Just short of 20% (27 of 147) of sites do not bother to provide a topic search box for either site-only search or Google internet search.  The search box feature is comparable to the index in a book.  Examples are numerous so I randomly picked CDPHP as a sure winner.  Again, why leave visitors guessing where to locate content?
  3. Security Certificate Display — Only 22% (33 of 147) of sites bother to display their security certification anywhere.  Yes, visitors may be aware of being on a secured site if they recognize the URL address with https://.  Even though few Medicare plan sites handle payment transactions, visitors still appreciate the assurance that they are accessing a secured site.  For examples, visit HealthSun or Kaiser Permanente sites and scroll to the bottom of the home page.
  4. Medicare Fraud and Abuse Alert  — Almost unbelievable that 13% (19 of 147) of sites do not provide basic information on reporting Medicare fraud or abuse.  This is one of the most common scams targeting Medicare beneficiaries and involves simple messaging to keep older adults aware.  Many good examples but try Excellus as one format and MVP for posting scam alerts.
  5. Website Feedback — Only 30% (45 of 147) of sites invite or encourage visitor feedback about their website experience.  Foresee, Opinion Lab, Survey Monkey  are the most common proprietary pop-up surveys but a simple email click option is the easiest way to allow visitors to provide kudos or criticism that can verify the user experience.   Check out the Opinion Lab option at BCBS Michigan.

(This is the first in a series highlighting the 2017 MedicareWebWatch project findings)

Kaiser Permanente Repeats as #1 Medicare Website in 2017 “Madness in March” Results

Posted by Alan Mittermaier

Congratulations to Kaiser Permanente and its Medicare plan website, Medicare.KaiserPermanente.org, on repeating as winner of the 2017 “Madness in March” competition among 147 Medicare plan websites surveyed by HealthMetrix Research Inc.  This is the sixth year since 2009 that Medicare.KaiserPermanente.org has been recognized as the overall top Medicare website.   Kaiser Permanente’s website advanced through five rounds of matchups that featured 32 top-scoring Medicare websites.  The complete “Madness in March” bracket results can be viewed at — 2017 MWW Madness bracket FINAL

The annual independent MedicareWebWatch project tracked 50 common and advanced features across four categories — content, member connectivity, design, transparency.   HealthMetrix Research recognized a total of 13 “benchmark” and 20 “distinguished” Medicare plan websites in a February 22 PRNewswire release.  See additional details about MedicareWebWatch website certification at – www.MedicareWebWatch.com

MedicareWebWatch National Certification Recognizes Best 2017 Medicare Advantage Websites

Columbus, OH (February 22, 2017) – HealthMetrix Research Inc., an independent research firm, announces the selection of 34 Medicare Advantage plan websites for MedicareWebWatch national certification.  MedicareWebWatch national certification recognizes excellence in Medicare plan website content, member connectivity, design and transparency.  Fourteen “benchmark” websites and 20 “distinguished” websites were selected from 147 Medicare Advantage websites after comprehensive site reviews.

According to HealthMetrix Research Inc. president Alan Mittermaier, “These best-of-breed websites demonstrate their growing value as an asset for Medicare Advantage plans to achieve enrollment and customer satisfaction goals.  Providing a high-value, positive website experience that engages plan members and caregivers will also deliver return on investment in the long-term.  HealthMetrix Research is pleased to recognize these organizations for their forward-looking commitment to website relevance and readiness.”

MedicareWebWatch national certification is based on HealthMetrix Research’s mapping methodology that weighs 50 website features related to:  plan-specific content; external content resources; member connectivity; design and navigation; transparency and privacy disclosure.  Certification details are available at www.MedicareWebWatch.com.  HealthMetrix Research Inc. neither recommends nor endorses specific Medicare plans or products.  Also see PRNewswire release at — http://prn.to/2m86gcz

Benchmark Websites

Aetna
AvMed
Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan
Florida Blue
Group Health Cooperative
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield
Humana
Kaiser Permanente
MVP Health Plan
Priority Health
Providence Health Plans
Rocky Mountain Health Plans
Security Health Plan
Tufts Health Plan

Distinguished Websites

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western NY
Blue Shield of Northeastern NY
Capital Blue Cross
EmblemHealth
Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield
Fallon Health Plan
Health Alliance Plan
Health First
HealthPartners
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield
HMSA Blue Cross Blue Shield of Hawaii
Independent Health
MCS Classicare
Peoples Health
Presbyterian Health Plan
UCare
Univera
UPMC