A study by J.D. Power reveals that coordination of care among healthcare providers is the single most important criteria affecting satisfaction with a health plan.

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The study, which was released late last month by the California-based market research company, measures customer satisfaction on a 1,000-point scale. The ability to help members successfully navigate among providers is associated with a 136-point increase in overall customer satisfaction.

Still, just 25 percent of health plan members reported receiving such service from their health plan.

“Amidst sweeping changes in healthcare delivery and payment models, our data is showing that the one thing consumers value most is clear-cut, easy access to doctors and other healthcare providers,” said Valerie Monet, senior director of U.S. insurance operations at J.D. Power. “This puts health insurers in a unique position because so much of their perceived value is reliant upon positive interactions with providers. These findings set the stage for the future of healthcare in which close coordination among health plans and providers that reduces friction points for members will be the key to success.”

So which plan providers in the area did the most to satisfy their members? Within the study’s Northwest region, which includes Washington state, Kaiser Foundation plan scored the highest, with 751 out of 1,000 points — earning five coveted circles in J.D. Power’s Power Circle Ratings. Regence BlueShield of Washington and Group Health Cooperative (which has now been fully integrated with Kaiser) are next with 719 and 718 points, respectively. The regional average sits at 697 points; interestingly, several health plan providers, including Premera BlueCross, Providence Health, Aetna and Cigna, fall below that threshold.

The study is based on responses from 33,624 commercial health plan members and was fielded in January-March 2017.