J.D. Power and Associates, known for its insights into consumers’ opinions on cars, insurance and telecomms, published its latest poll on consumers’ favorite health plans. The verdict: health citizens like integrated health insurance plans where providers and insurance are part of the same organization like Kaiser Foundation Health Plans (rated in the top 3 in virtually every market where they operate polled by J.D. Power), Health Alliance Plan of Michigan, Geisinger in Pennsylvania, Dean Health Plan of Minnesota, and Group Health Cooperative of the northwest.

Each of these integrated plans grew up based on local medical, economic and political cultures. Yet each is highly regarded by health consumers in their communities.

Still, overall health plan member satisfaction hit its lowest point since J.D. Power initiated this survey in 2007. The most insidious issues consumers face with their health plans is poor information and communication, claims processing, and statements which all declined from last year in level of satisfaction.

J.D. Power and Associates surveyed member satisfaction among 137 plans in 17 regions in the U.S. The survey polled consumers’ opinions on coverage and benefits, provider choice, information and communication, claims processing and other health-administrative issues such as approval processes.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  Underneath the findings of J.D. Power’s survey are some key foundations that consumers like, but they might not be aware of. Integrated health plans provide the person-patient a first point of entry, usually supported by some type of an electronic health record. Many offer personal health portals, such as Kaiser’s My Health Manager, Tufts’ personalized health record, and Dean Health Plan’s MyChart. These plans also integrate wellness and preventive services that invest in members’ whole health, as well as attend to transitions of care between primary, secondary and tertiary settings by design, more aggressively and consciously than health plans that aren’t integrated.

This finding speaks to consumers’ preferences for patient-centered medical homes — even though most health citizens don’t know the term yet. This innovation features prominently in the Affordable Care Act (health reform) and is a hallmark of integrated delivery systems. The over-arching term for how these top-notch health plans operate is “accountable care.”