Kaiser Permanente's Medicare Website Receives Top Marks, Hailed as Best in Nation

Jun 11, 2013, 12:46 ET from Kaiser Permanente

OAKLAND, Calif., June 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Kaiser Permanente's Medicare plan website, kp.org/medicare, received the highest overall rating for a third straight year in qualifying for MedicareWebWatch certification, according to HealthMetrix Research Inc. Kaiser Permanente's Medicare plan site was one of only 15 Medicare Advantage internet sites selected for certification, and among five recognized as a benchmark site. The independent research firm rated 133 Medicare plan websites nationwide.

WebWatch-certified websites are rated for excellence in content, member connectivity, design and privacy assurance. The five benchmark sites received top marks for accessibility – enabling the latest user-friendly technology that allows disabled visitors full access to website content.

Each day, 11,000 new seniors become eligible for Medicare, and kp.org/medicare provides beneficiaries with easy access to information about the four parts of Medicare (Parts A, B, C and D). The site outlines eligibility requirements, and clearly illustrates cost and coverage options. Eligible customers can enroll in Kaiser Permanente's Medicare plan directly from the website. In 2012, the site recorded nearly 2 million visits, a 100 percent increase over the previous year.

"We are very pleased to receive the MedicareWebWatch certification and to see this dramatic increase in website use. As more people turn to our website as a resource for Medicare information, it's important to provide easy-to-understand content and user-friendly technology," said Herman Weil, senior vice president, Kaiser Permanente Medicare program. "We encourage people to see for themselves why our Medicare site is so highly rated."

Some current beneficiaries don't have to wait for Medicare open enrollment in October. The site also includes information about the Special Enrollment Period now underway for plans that received a five out of 5-star rating for 2013 from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

"Medicare beneficiaries can join a 5-star Kaiser Permanente Medicare health plan by enrolling on our website without waiting for open enrollment in October. They must meet certain eligibility criteria and live in a service area where a Kaiser Permanente 5-star plan is offered," Weil added. Kaiser Permanente 5-star plans are offered in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Hawaii, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

"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 Medicare-eligible visitors, family members, friends and caregivers," 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."

Kaiser Permanente currently provides care to more than 1 million Medicare members in nine states and the District of Columbia, and leads the nation among Medicare health plans according to the 2012 National Committee for Quality Assurance's Quality Compass®. Seniors can learn more about the 5-star Special Enrollment Period and the Medicare Star Quality Ratings from Kaiser Permanente by visiting kp.org/medicare, or calling 1-855-817-5831. CMS also offers details on its website, medicare.gov, and at the toll-free number 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Plan performance summary star ratings are assessed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services each year and may change from one year to the next.

About MedicareWebWatch
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 more than 9.1 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: kp.org/newscenter.

For more information, contact:
Diana Yee, 510-271-6671, diana.m.yee@kp.org

SOURCE Kaiser Permanente