The healthcare industry is one of a number of industries that seems to be losing its connection to the people – their customers. This notion was highlighted by the Temkin Group, a research firm that collects and analyzes data about customer experiences, when they released their 2012 Forgiveness Ratings: Turns out, people aren’t very forgiving of their health plan providers.
Health Plan Providers Low on the Totem Pole
In fact, when the industries were ranked in order of most likely to be forgiven, the health plan industry ranked 14 out of 18. The industry ranked the lowest when rated for overall customer experience. In addition, health plan providers were less likely to be forgiven than banks, and given the state of the economy, that’s pretty bad.
When customers were asked how likely they were to forgive a certain industry, they rated the company on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 being the most forgiving rating. Though there may be flaws in the data, with only 10,000 customers surveyed to rank 206 companies from 18 industries, the results still give us something to talk about.
Women Make Up Half of Health Plan Customers
While the data isn’t solely focused on women’s customer experiences, it’s important to recognize that we are half of the population. The ratings bring to mind reports that women are less satisfied with their health care than men, which will dampen a company’s chances of being forgiven.
A woman’s dissatisfaction with her health care may be due a number of reasons, including:
- Medical prescriptions are not always geared towards women’s needs.
- Medical research does not always keep women’s changing hormones in mind, particularly postmenopausal women.
- Women pay more for health insurance than men.
- Pregnancy is considered a pre-existing condition for individual health care plans. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 only applies to group health care plans.
Men Also Impacted by Women’s Health
When women are not provided adequate and affordable health care, our spouses, partners, and families suffer, too. Including pregnancy as a pre-existing condition is an example of how insufficient health plans can impact men. When a woman is denied insurance because she is pregnant, her husband or partner will have to endure the financial blow as well.
In addition, the Committee on Energy and Commerce found that individual insurers deny expectant fathers insurance coverage, demonstrating how attitudes towards women’s health can impact a man’s health and the well-being of an entire family.
Health Plan Providers Least Likely to Be Forgiven
Four health plan providers are in the 20 least forgiven companies: United Healthcare, Anthem (BCBS), Humana, and Cigna. It should come as no surprise that hospital executives and leaders seem to agree with customer opinions.
Revive Public Relations, which specializes in health care and healthy living, began surveying hospital leaders for opinions on health plan providers. Though Cigna came in 2nd place in 2010 (disapproval still resulted in a 65% rating), United Healthcare and Anthem were poorly rated by hospital executives in 2011. Negative opinions of the health plan industry increased overall in 2011, because hospital executives struggled to obtain reimbursements.
Of course, these surveys may not reflect your own opinions. Are you satisfied with your health plan provider? Do you feel that the health plan industry provides adequate care for your needs as a woman? Share your thoughts.