Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

BCBS Gets Top Marks in Study by J.D. Power; Blue Cross Was Lauded for Its Relationship with Members, Its Benefits

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

BCBS Gets Top Marks in Study by J.D. Power; Blue Cross Was Lauded for Its Relationship with Members, Its Benefits

Article excerpt

Byline: URVAKSH KARKARIA

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida came out tops in customer satisfaction, according to a nationwide study.

The Jacksonville-based health insurer, which was ranked highest in the South, got top marks for its ability to communicate with members, its network of physicians, hospitals and pharmacies, and health benefits, according to the J.D. Power & Associates study.

Blue Cross scored 779 points out of a maximum 1,000 points in the 2007 National Health Insurance Plan Satisfaction Study, released Thursday.

"This stuff doesn't happen by accident. [Blue Cross has] worked at it, and it shows at a very consistent level of scoring across all the factors," said David Stefan, executive director of the healthcare practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "They are doing ... basic blocking and tackling ... well, but they are going above and beyond in their interaction with their members."

Blue Cross, which employs roughly 8,500 employees statewide, including about 7,360 locally, is Florida's largest health insurer.

The ranking confirms "that we have placed importance on the areas that are important to our members - providing high quality services, coverage, benefits," Blue Cross spokesman Bruce Middlebrooks said. "Does that mean that ... we can't improve? No. We will always look for areas to improve."

In contrast to Blue Cross, other major health insurers - United Healthcare (741 points), Aetna (736 points) and Humana (729 points)- scored below the region's average (746 points).

"There's room for improvement for a number of plans," Stefan said. "Any plan that performs under the industry average really ought to be looking at this data and asking themselves, 'How do we get to a higher level?'"

Humana spokesman Mitch Lubitz declined comment on his company's ranking in the South region. …

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