ON THE PULSE/TRENDS & SURVEYS


Mental Healthcare 'Inadequate'? A survey of consumers in managed care plans has found that 35 percent perceive mental healthcare to be "inadequate" and only 15 percent rate the care as excellent, placing it among the lowest ratings for any type of treatment. This could mean serious implications for healthcare marketers, as unsatisfied patients leaving a health plan can run from 10 percent to 25 percent annually - with each 1 percent loss meaning $6 million to $9 million in lost revenue for a medium-sized HMO. The findings released last week are based on the 1995 CareData Annual Health Plan Member Survey of 10,510 health plan members. Of the respondents who rated their mental health care as excellent, 88 percent said they would re-enroll and 81 percent said they would recommend their plan. Only 58 percent of respondents who rated their plans' mental health facilities "inadequate" would re-enroll and only 44 percent said they would recommend their plan. (CareData, 800/776-6758) Women Look at Cost, Health Plan Choices You may want to play up your health plan's physician selection and cost effectiveness in your marketing projects. A survey released this week by Prudential HealthCare found that a majority of women consider cost and selection of physicians first when choosing a health plan for themselves or their family. However, the study, conducted by TeleNation for Prudential HealthCare, found that less than one-third of women examine how a plan ranks in quality. Only 35 percent considered whether a plan is accredited and only 22 percent considered whether the plan offered report cards. Thirty-two percent of women want their health plan to conduct research to improve members' health and less than half look for special programs for chronic conditions such as "asthma or high blood pressure." The survey found that 89 percent of women consider cost and co-payments and 88 percent look for a plan which offers "a good selection of physicians." Eighty percent also wanted tips or guidelines to help them manage health plans for themselves and their families and 68 percent said that preventive care is an important factor. Sixty-six percent of those surveyed were interested in plans that offered "ease of changing physicians." (Prudential, 800/852-8732)

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