OAKLAND, Calif., Oct. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Kaiser Permanente's Medicare plan website, www.medicare.kp.org, was one of 23 Medicare Advantage plan websites nationwide selected for excellence in content, member connectivity, design and privacy assurance.
"Providing convenient access to high-quality, affordable care begins with the plan selection process," said Herman Weil, senior vice president, Kaiser Permanente Medicare program. "Our Medicare website helps make what can be an overwhelming and confusing process easier."
www.medicare.kp.org received MedicareWebWatch certification earlier this year through the independent research firm, HealthMetrix Research Inc. The benchmark websites were chosen from 137 Medicare Advantage websites that were evaluated.
The website explains the four main components of Medicare, outlines eligibility requirements, and clearly illustrates cost and coverage options. Visitors can even enroll directly from the website when they are ready.
Medicare is made up of four parts, Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D, which cover everything from inpatient hospital care to prescription drugs.
- Medicare Part A helps pay for inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing care, some home-health services and hospice care.
- Medicare Part B pays for physician services, outpatient hospital care and other medical services not covered by Part A.
- Medicare Part C, usually known as Medicare Advantage, is offered by private health care companies like Kaiser Permanente. Part C plans cover all services under Parts A and B, plus additional benefits.
- Finally, Medicare Part D helps pay for outpatient prescription drugs and is available through private health care companies. Part C plans often include Medicare Part D coverage.
"Providing the information and tools to choose the right plan is the first step in beneficiary empowerment," said Anna-Lisa Silvestre, vice president, online services. "Once enrolled, Kaiser Permanente Medicare members can register for My Health Manager on kp.org, our personal health record." Through My Health Manager, Medicare beneficiaries can email their doctors, see their lab results, make appointments, refill their prescriptions and learn about their health concerns, all from the comfort of their homes.
"Medicare beneficiaries also can grant family members access to their personal health records," continued Silvestre. "This allows family members to act on behalf of beneficiaries when needed. It's no wonder Medicare beneficiaries are some of our most active users."
More than 40 percent of Kaiser Permanente's Medicare beneficiaries are registered for My Health Manager, and a 2009 Kaiser Permanente survey of Medicare beneficiaries reported that 87 percent of respondents – all 65 and older – were satisfied or very satisfied with My Health Manager. Nearly 3.7 million members use My Health Manager to engage their care teams and become actively involved in their health care. In 2010 alone, Kaiser Permanente members viewed more than 25.8 million test results and sent nearly 11 million emails to their physicians using My Health Manager.
"Given the increasing necessity for Medicare Advantage plans to communicate detailed information and execute transactions via the internet, plan websites must provide a high-value, positive experience for plan members, caregivers and guests," said HealthMetrix Research Inc. President Alan Mittermaier. "Kaiser Permanente was chosen for MedicareWebWatch certification based on the high relevance and readiness of its Medicare Advantage website. HealthMetrix Research is pleased to recognize Kaiser Permanente for its outstanding preparedness as members navigate changes to the Medicare Advantage program."
Kaiser Permanente currently provides care to Medicare members in nine states and the District of Columbia, and is consistently named as one of the best Medicare health plans in its service areas. The National Committee for Quality Assurance continually gives high rankings to Kaiser Permanente for its individual Medicare health plans. This year Kaiser Permanente took the top four best Medicare health plan rankings in the nation. Kaiser Permanente in Northern California ranked No. 1 in the nation, Southern California ranked No. 2, Colorado No. 3, and in Oregon and Washington ranked No. 4, according to the NCQA Health Insurance Plan Rankings 2011-12 — Medicare list. These rankings are based on clinical quality data, member satisfaction and NCQA accreditation.
Among the 341 plans ranked, the four remaining Kaiser Permanente regions had the following national rankings:
- Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States — 17th
- Kaiser Permanente Ohio —19th
- Kaiser Permanente Georgia — 31st
MedicareWebWatch certification is based on HealthMetrix Research's methodology that addresses 50 website features related to: plan-specific content; external content resources; member connectivity; design and navigation; privacy and security. Certification details are available at www.MedicareWebWatch.com. HealthMetrix Research Inc. neither recommends nor endorses specific Medicare plans or products.
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America's leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 8.8 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: www.kp.org/newscenter.
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SOURCE Kaiser Permanente