HealthMetrix Research’s MedicareWebWatch initiative annually benchmarks Medicare Advantage plan websites for content, member connectivity, accessibility/design and privacy assurance. The 2014 MedicareWebWatch survey findings from 142 websites confirmed many Medicare plan websites fail to maximize the relevance and readiness of their websites for their target audiences — plan members, caregivers, new member prospects. There is considerable room for improvement especially since over 10,000 “boomers” become Medicare-eligible daily and at least 60% of all seniors are internet users (Pew Internet Project-2013). Below are 10 recommended upgrades showing the % of Medicare plan websites where currently available.
Recommended User-friendly Upgrades
1. STAR ratings transparency (2%) — In addition to the CMS-required overall STAR rating, post rating summaries for all five rating categories — 1) Staying healthy, 2) Managing chronic conditions, 3) Member experience, 4) Member complaints, 5) Customer service satisfaction.
2. Website accessibility for disabled users (4% fully accessible) Fix website pages, links, PDF documents according to Section 508 accessibility standards that otherwise cannot be read or accessed by disabled visitors using screen readers or other assistive devices.
3. Member health/wellness records (46%) Include access to personal health/wellness records via secured member portal.
4. Member account support (66%) Include access to member account information for customer service requests, verification of claims, editing contact information via secured member portal.
5. External content links (75%) Post links for external content websites that offer health alerts, personal improvement guidance, personal finance, senior benefits eligibility information.
6. Providers accepting or not accepting new patients (76%) Include current status in provider directory listings for primary care physicians.
7. Adjustable text-sizing (80%) Add this feature for vision-impaired users to easily adjust screen appearance.
9. Document/topic search (82%) Add this feature as a navigation option in addition to the site map.
10. Reporting Medicare fraud/abuse (84%) Add local plan contact information or the federal Medicare fraud/abuse website — StopMedicareFraud — and toll-free phone — 800-447-8477 or TTY: 800-377-4950.