National Study by SPH Analytics Reveals Consumer Need for More Effective Communications from Health Plans Related to COVID-19

June 9, 2020 Editor

Indicates Gaps in Communication across Membership and Concerns among those Diagnosed with COVID-19

Alpharetta, GA – According to initial results from a multi-phased national COVID-19 study published today by SPH Analytics, outreach regarding COVID-19 from health plans and providers has been lacking or is going unnoticed. Of the 2,000 respondents surveyed between May 5 and May 11, 2020, only 37% said that their health plan reached out to them with information regarding the virus, and even fewer said their personal doctor reached out (29%).

“What these numbers tell us is there may be a discrepancy between what health plans and providers are communicating to members and what those individuals are actually hearing,” said Mike Foytik, Chief Analytics Officer at SPH Analytics. “It’s likely that communications are not reaching their intended targets or are not resonating with their specific audience.  Given the unprecedented environment we’re all facing today, it’s more important than ever for payers and providers to factor in consumers’ healthcare knowledge, channel preferences, and level of engagement in their personal healthcare into all communications.”

Some key initial findings of the survey include:

  • Outreach is lacking from health plans and providers or is going unnoticed. Only 37% of consumers said their health plan reached out to them with information regarding COVID-19.  Given that most health plans seem to be communicating with their members, it appears that these communications are not reaching their intended targets or are not resonating with the audience.
  • Telehealth usage is up, but there is still a knowledge gap. Only 50% of consumers said their health plan offers telehealth services, while 38% are unsure. Of the half of consumers who are aware that their health plan offers telehealth, 43% don’t understand the cost to use this service and 31% do not feel adequately informed regarding telehealth services.
  • Consumers are generally confident they can get the care they need. 81% are very or somewhat confident they can get the care they need for a minor illness or injury, and 87% feel confident they can access care for a major emergency. Those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or know someone who has been diagnosed show similar levels of confidence in accessing care.
  • Despite high levels of confidence about access to care, there are consumers ready to switch plans. Even though most consumers do not recall receiving outreach, 80% are confident that their health plan is doing everything it can to keep them healthy.  However, 16% of respondents said their health plan has done something to make them question whether they will remain a member, and 18% said they would switch plans if they could right now. Over 78% of the small percentage of consumers diagnosed with COVID-19 said their plan has done something to make them question remaining a member, and 70% of them would switch right now if they could.

Continued Foytik, “The highest performing plans leverage data, analysis, and strategic efforts to support driving great member experience, satisfaction, and access to care. The health plans that are participating in this multi-phased national study will interact directly with the consumer data, making comparisons between their own member populations, their region, and the national norms.  This will help the plans monitor changes in member experiences during the pandemic to provide the highest level of service and care for their membership.  Insights from the national COVID-19 study will also help plans better understand their 2020 CAHPS results.  This is especially important given the recent changes to the Medicare Advantage Star Ratings, that doubled the weight of member experience and access to care measures.”

SPH Analytics has deep expertise in both quantitative and qualitative research, including complete administration and management of healthcare surveys that enable health plans to understand the member experience. This research modality gives health plan members one of the clearest paths to conveying their experience across the healthcare continuum. Healthcare organizations use these surveys to measure patient/member experience and extract useful and relevant information that translates to actionable improvement plans. SPH also has unique patient population stratification and engagement solutions that can identify and then close care gaps through patient education and appointment setting.

The survey baseline was completed via Internet panel respondents who were recruited to create a representative sample of the entire U.S.  More than 2,000 respondents ages 18 and older who are involved in care decisions were surveyed between May 5 and May 11, 2020, including members of commercial, Medicare, Medicaid, and military plans, as well as the uninsured. Additional waves of the study will continue to canvas a national audience, but also afford participating health plans the option to supplement research to also include members of their own health plan for detailed analyses of their membership against the national results.

For more information about SPH Analytics and its experience solutions, visit

About SPH Analytics

SPH Analytics (SPH), a leader in healthcare analytics and population health management, empowers clients to analyze and interpret their clinical, financial, and consumer experience data to maximize their performance. SPH’s Population Care™, Population Value™, and Population Engage™ solutions are built on the innovative Nexus™ Platform, providing insights and impact to integrated health networks, ACOs, hospitals, ambulatory care providers, physician groups, and health plans. SPH’s quality measure dashboards, financial risk measurement, healthcare survey and patient outreach solutions, and consulting services empower clients to meet the Triple Aim by improving population health, reducing overall cost of care, and improving the patient experience.

SPH Analytics is a recognized leader in the industry, earning accolades as a top ranked population health vendor by KLAS, top-ranked satisfaction measurement firm in the health plan market by Modern Healthcare, and ranked number one in MACRA and MIPS Support Technology for Value-Based Care by Black Book Research. SPH Analytics has been providing insights to clients for more than 35 years and serves clients in all 50 states.  Corporate headquarters are in metro Atlanta. SPH Analytics is a portfolio company of the $3 billion STG Partners. For more information, call 1-866-460-5681 or visit

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