Overall dental plan customer satisfaction is declining, according to the JD Power 2017 Dental Plan Satisfaction Report. In 2017, overall customer satisfaction declined to 770 (on a 1,000-point scale) from its 781-point score in 2016, primarily due to costs (755 in 2017 versus 767 in 2016) and coverage (787 in 2017 versus 802 in 2016). Satisfaction with in-network dentist availability declined 1.29 points from 2016.
“With healthcare becoming more consumer-focused, dental plans are coming face to face with new challenges and are having to adjust to accommodate this shift,” said Rick Johnson, director of the healthcare practice at JD Power. “In addition to offering cost-effective solutions, expanding coverage and effectively communicating with members will ensure increased levels of satisfaction as well as customer advocacy and loyalty.”
The study’s key findings include:
- Contact and problem resolution: The number of times a member contacted the dental plan insurer to resolve a problem or question decreased to 1.78 in 2017 from 2.46 in 2016. However, the length of time to resolve the problem or question increased to 4.61 days in 2017 from 3.53 days in 2016.
- Satisfied members and word of mouth: 94% of members who were delighted with their dental plan (with overall satisfaction scores above 900) said they “definitely will” recommend their insurer to others, compared to the report average of 44%.
- Satisfied members and loyalty: Given the choice, 93% of delighted members said they “definitely will” select the same dental plan insurer, compared to the report average of 40%.
DentaQuest ranked the highest, particularly in cost and communication. Aetna Dental was second, followed by UnitedHealthcareDental. While most dental care providers included in the study typically provide coverage through the customer’s employer, DentaQuest largely provides government plans. Conducted in October 2017, the 2017 Dental Plan Satisfaction Report was based on responses from about 2,100 members of various dental plans.