Another broad conclusion that can be made from the study, says Millard, is that members are placing more importance on coverage and benefits than provider choice and communication.
"In years past they all had comparable influence on member satisfaction. In recent years, coverage and benefits have really pulled away to be the most influential factor driving member satisfaction," he says, adding that it may be because members are becoming more cost-sensitive.
"I think fundamentally people see that they are paying the same or more, but they're not necessarily receiving more coverage, and that's part of the reason this has become a more acute concern year over year," says Millard.
One group is hoping that the higher ranked nonprofit health plans will catch the attention of newly created health insurance exchanges.
The Alliance for Advancing Nonprofit Health Care (AANHC), a group that represents nonprofit hospitals, health plans, and other health care organizations, wants insurance exchanges to include the ownership status when health plan choices are presented to consumers.
Bruce McPherson, president and CEO of AANHC, lobbied the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in 2010 to include the ownership status of health plans on the Summary of Benefits and Coverage form for insurance exchanges.
"CMS did not include our recommendation in the final version, but that doesn't mean individual state exchanges can't add that item if they choose, and we hope that many of them will," says McPherson.