Skip to main content

Choosing the right healthcare provider can be a daunting task. There are numerous factors to consider, and these can change based on the type of care or provider an individual is looking for. It turns out, health plans have a big role to play in making this search easier for people. In a survey of more than 1,000 individuals with health insurance, HealthSparq found that when people are looking for a new provider, most go to their health plan first. In addition to the basics (like location, cost, and years of experience) people said they want more guidance when it comes selecting a provider that best fits their needs. Consumers are seeking a tool that modernizes their provider search experience while providing accurate and detailed information in a quick, easy, effective way.

This presents health plans with an opportunity to improve member satisfaction by equipping consumers with a comprehensive view of available providers. These demands do not exist solely in the commercial health plan space. Seniors enrolled in Medicare are also looking for in-depth provider information based on attributes that are important to them, and are more frequently using online transparency tools to research their options. By providing more in-depth provider profiles, Medicare Advantage plans can retain beneficiaries and improve STAR ratings by increasing member satisfaction.

What members what to know

The majority of consumers use provider search to determine if certain providers are in-network, but they also want access to more robust provider profiles. Health plan members want more than just the basics when looking for providers:

  • 71% want access to patient reviews
  • 56% want to learn more about the provider’s approach to patient care
  • 46% said knowing the health outcomes of patients treated by the provider would be helpful
  • 32% want to see photos of providers
  • 21% said information on quality metrics would be helpful in choosing a provider

I found the right provider. Now what? 

Once a provider is chosen, the majority of consumers would like to have the option to schedule appointments through their health plan’s website. Although this feature is in high demand, just forty percent of health plan members report having that option. Again, this provides health plans with an opportunity to rise to the occasion and meet the needs of their members. Relatedly, sometimes scheduling an appointment to physically go to the doctor’s office may not be the best or most convenient option. Providing information on the availability of telehealth is something that 38% of consumers would find helpful when searching for a provider.

Keep information updated and accurate

As health plans work to empower consumers with transparency tools that lead to more informed decisions about healthcare, ensuring accuracy is key. Thirty percent of individuals say they encountered information that is inaccurate while searching for a provider on their health plan’s website. To build and maintain member trust, health plans must prioritize updates to provider search data in a manner that ensures accuracy. Under the No Surprises Act, provider directory information must be updated at least every 90 days.

To see what else we learned about consumer needs and preferences in healthcare this year, download the 2022 Consumer Sentiment Benchmark Report.

HealthSparq helps plans effectively respond to consumer needs by equipping members with the information needed to make informed decisions about their healthcare. During a time when transparency mandates are top of mind, it is important to remember that members expect more of their health plans than just the basics. Go above and beyond for consumers and make a positive impact on how individuals find care.