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Independent Health tops J.D. Power list for customer satisfaction

Independent Health has the most satisfied customers among health insurance companies in the New York-New Jersey region, according to J.D. Power’s latest Member Health Plan Study.

The Williamsville-headquartered health insurance company topped the list of insurers in the region, beating out MVP Health Care in second place and Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan in third.

It was the only company in the two-state region to receive five out of five “power circles,” which classifies it as “among the best” according to the rating system. It scored 719 points on a 1,000 point scale. The regional average was 684.

BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York ranked fourth with a score of 707 and received four out of five power circles. Rochester-based Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, parent company of Univera Healthcare, ranked 10th. Its score of 682 is just below the regional average. It received three out of five power circles.

It’s the fifth time since 2010 Independent Health has topped the list for its region. It had slipped to second place the past two years.

Dr. Michael Cropp, Independent Health’s president and CEO, attributed the high ratings to the company’s tight relationships with providers, its emphasis on customer service and employees’ passion.

“Our associates strive to make health care easier for our members by developing innovative plans, benefits and tools that enable them to use their coverage more efficiently, get access to the right care and achieve better overall health,” Cropp said, in an e-mail.

The study was based on responses from 31,867 commercial health plan members across the country from October through December. Health plan members were asked about their experiences with customer service, coverage and benefits, cost, provider choice, information and communication, and claims processing. Independent Health ranked highest in its region in four of those six categories.

Independent Health, established in 1980, has nearly 400,000 members.

Nationally, J.D. Power’s analysis of its survey data showed customers were slightly happier with costs in regions where there was more competition among insurers – giving ratings four points higher on the 1,000-point scale. Consumers were slightly more pleased with provider choice in less competitive regions when insurers offered fewer plans to choose from, giving ratings 11 points higher on the 1,000-point scale.