Nearly 40% of privately insured health plan members in US used telehealth services

A study from J.D. Power said before the pandemic, just 9% of privately insured health plan members in the US used telehealth services.

Telehealth services are seeing a massive increase in demand since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to a new survey from J.D. Power.

The J.D. Power 2021 US Commercial Member Health Plan Study features insights gleaned from a survey of 32,066 commercial health plan members in the US from January to March this year.

More than 35% of respondents said they used telehealth services over the last year, up from just 9% last year. The report also found that 32% of respondents contacted their insurers online through the web, mobile apps, or text. 

Overall user satisfaction was up as well, with 10 point increases in satisfaction scores compared to last year and 2019, due partly to improved websites, lowered costs, and better access to information. 

The study found that younger people were accessing health services digitally far more than any other generation. More than 62% of Gen Z members contacted the customer service channel of their health plan, while 52% of Gen Y did the same over the last year. Less than 50% did the same among the Pre-Boomer/Boomer generation, according to the survey. 

Even though there were increases in engagement with health plans among most, 37% of members had no interaction with their health plan at all and 44% of members in the Pre-Boomer/Boomer generation had no engagement at all. 

James Beem, managing director of global healthcare intelligence at J.D. Power, said in a statement that the events of 2020 proved that "effective use of digital channels has the power to increase customer engagement, build trust, and promote brand advocacy." 

"While many plans are showing tremendous progress by delivering for their members during a highly volatile and stressful period, they still have a long way to go when it comes to delivering consistently strong levels of customer engagement across all segments of their member populations," Beem said. 

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