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

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Give Your Medicare Advantage Plan Website a Thorough Independent Annual Review

March Madness is here which means an invitation to join Alan Mittermaier for a one-hour consultation webinar highlighting the 2015 MedicareWebWatch website findings along with MedicareWebWatch certification details for your organization. Included are actionable build-out insights for how your organization’s Medicare Advantage website can become more relevant and ready to meet the growing expectations of plan members, age-ins and caregivers. The webinar also covers best practices from industry-leading websites recognized for “Excellence in Website Content, Connectivity, Design and Transparency”.

HealthMetrix Research President Alan Mittermaier has an extensive background from advising over 60 Medicare Advantage sponsors and research organizations including Mathematica Policy Research, National Council on Aging (NCOA) and Research Triangle International. Mr. Mittermaier also offers his unique perspective as a recent Medicare Advantage plan enrollee.

Each webinar will accommodate up to 20 attendees and will be recorded for your organization’s internal use. Note: The registration fee ($500) can be credited towards the 2015 MedicareWebWatch certification licensing fee.  Click here to register today!

MedicareWebWatch Guidance for Navigating Medicare Resource Websites

Over 10,000 newly eligible beneficiaries every day enter the Medicare market and nearly 60% of 65+ year-olds use the internet (Pew Internet Project-2013).  This population segment can be overwhelmed by the information available for making informed decisions about Medicare coverage options.  MedicareWebWatch monitors Medicare website content in order to cut through the clutter and provide guidance for Medicare beneficiaries who want be informed by knowledgeable sources.

Which are the best Medicare resource websites?  MedicareWebWatch recommends visiting and bookmarking a cross-section of websites that offer divergent perspectives and services.

Best Medicare Government Websites

Medicare.gov and MyMedicare.gov
State SHIP (State Health Insurance Assistance Programs available in every state)

Best Medicare Information & Advocacy Websites

AARP Medicare
Medicare Rights Center

MyMedicareMatters and Medicare QuickCheck

Best Medicare Shopping & Coverage Selection Websites

Aon Hewitt Navigators
eHealth Medicare
HealthPocket

Best Medicare News Websites

Kaiser Health News
MedicareNewsWatch (Access via Facebook)

Medicare Advantage Plan Websites Need User-Friendly Upgrades

Summary

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.

8. Website privacy assurance  (80%)  Add website privacy assurance policy that addresses website security, use of cookies or tracking analytics, email confidentiality.

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.

 

National Council on Aging Offers Co-branded Content

National Council on AgingBenefitsCheckUp

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) offers excellent guidance for older adults via a suite of website properties that can be co-branded with Medicare Advantage plan websites.  The free site BenefitsCheckUp.org quickly finds federal, state and private benefit programs available to help save money on prescription drugs, utilities, taxes, meals, and more.  BlueCross BlueShield-Georgia includes a co-branded BenefitsCheckup.org page for its members in partnership with NCOA.  To learn more about opportunities for co-branding NCOA content visit NCOA Services.

2014 CMS Star Ratings Transparency Still Lacking

Among the 140 Medicare Advantage plan websites, only the three sponsors shown below  have chosen to post one or more of the 5 performance category star ratings in addition to the required overall 2014 star ratings.  While not required by CMS Medicare Marketing Guidelines, website visitors benefit by the full disclosure of all 5 performance categories.

See Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Overall Plan Rating   Overall Plan Rating   4.5 Stars out of 5

Customer Service   Customer Service   5 Stars out of 5

See Martin’s Point HealthCare

* * * * *
Customer Service

* * * * *
Overall Rating of Health Care Quality

* * * * *
Members’ Overall Rating of Health Plan

See Tufts Medicare Preferred

Overall Score  Overall Plan Rating

Staying Healthy (screening, tests, vaccines)    5 stars

Managing chronic (long-term) conditions    4 stars

Member experience with the health plan   5 stars

Member complaints, problems getting services, and improvements in the health plan’s performance    4 stars 

Health plan’s customer service    4 stars 

 

Staying Healthy (screenings, tests, and vaccines)
Staying Healthy (screenings, tests, and vaccines)
Overall ScoreFor plans covering health services, the overall score for quality of those services covers 45 different topics in 5 categories:5 starsStaying Healthy (screenings, tests, and vaccines)Includes how often members got various screening tests, vaccines, and other check-ups that help them stay healthy.4 starsManaging chronic (long-term) conditionsIncludes how often members with different conditions got certain tests and treatments that help them manage their condition.5 starsMember experience with the health planIncludes ratings of member satisfaction with the plan.4 starsMember complaints, problems getting services, and improvement in the health plan’s performanceIncludes how often Medicare found problems with the plan and how often members filed complaints against the plan and choose to leave the plan. Includes how much the plan’s performance has improved (if at all) over the last two years.4 starsHealth plan customer serviceIncludes how well the plan handles calls from members, makes decisions about member appeals for health coverage, and handles new enrollment requests in a timely way.- See more at: http://www.tuftsmedicarepreferred.org/medicare-star-rating#sthash.bvrdI55N.dpuf
Overall ScoreFor plans covering health services, the overall score for quality of those services covers 45 different topics in 5 categories:5 starsStaying Healthy (screenings, tests, and vaccines)Includes how often members got various screening tests, vaccines, and other check-ups that help them stay healthy.4 starsManaging chronic (long-term) conditionsIncludes how often members with different conditions got certain tests and treatments that help them manage their condition.5 starsMember experience with the health planIncludes ratings of member satisfaction with the plan.4 starsMember complaints, problems getting services, and improvement in the health plan’s performanceIncludes how often Medicare found problems with the plan and how often members filed complaints against the plan and choose to leave the plan. Includes how much the plan’s performance has improved (if at all) over the last two years.4 starsHealth plan customer serviceIncludes how well the plan handles calls from members, makes decisions about member appeals for health coverage, and handles new enrollment requests in a timely way.- See more at: http://www.tuftsmedicarepreferred.org/medicare-star-rating#sthash.bvrdI55N.dpuf
Overall ScoreFor plans covering health services, the overall score for quality of those services covers 45 different topics in 5 categories:5 starsStaying Healthy (screenings, tests, and vaccines)Includes how often members got various screening tests, vaccines, and other check-ups that help them stay healthy.4 starsManaging chronic (long-term) conditionsIncludes how often members with different conditions got certain tests and treatments that help them manage their condition.5 starsMember experience with the health planIncludes ratings of member satisfaction with the plan.4 starsMember complaints, problems getting services, and improvement in the health plan’s performanceIncludes how often Medicare found problems with the plan and how often members filed complaints against the plan and choose to leave the plan. Includes how much the plan’s performance has improved (if at all) over the last two years.4 starsHealth plan customer serviceIncludes how well the plan handles calls from members, makes decisions about member appeals for health coverage, and handles new enrollment requests in a timely way.- See more at: http://www.tuftsmedicarepreferred.org/medicare-star-rating#sthash.bvrdI55N.dpuf

HealthMetrix Research Selects Outstanding Medicare Advantage Websites for 2014 MedicareWebWatch Certification

(February 10, 2014) – HealthMetrix Research Inc., an independent research firm, today announced the selection of 14 Medicare Advantage plan websites for MedicareWebWatch certification.  MedicareWebWatch certification recognizes excellence in Medicare plan website content, member connectivity, design and privacy assurance.  Six ”benchmark” websites and 8 ”distinguished” websites were selected from 137 Medicare Advantage websites after comprehensive site reviews.  In addition, six websites are recognized for achieving highest ”accessibility” scores.  These sites have enabled the latest user-friendly technology to allow disabled visitors to fully access website content. Read More

See complete list of 2014 “benchmark” and “distinguished” websites at MedicareWebWatch.com