Brand familiarity, not star ratings, important in senior selection of BCBS Medicare plans
- A recent survey conducted by HealthPocket found that Medicare star ratings did little to influence seniors' choice of Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) Medicare plans.
- Among the factors that did influence health plan decisions were brand familiarity, premiums, out-of-pocket costs and provider access.
- These findings are consistent with other studies showing that older consumers tend to prefer brands that are familiar.
HealthPocket examined BSBS star ratings to see if plan quality was consistent. Overall star ratings ranged from 2.5 to 4.5 out of 5 stars, which means the best plan had an 80% higher quality rating than the worst.
Based on the CMS star ratings, HealthPocket concluded that quality is not the same across BCBS plans, which is not surprising given that BCBS consists of 37 independent companies. However, according to the report, many consumers are not aware that Blue Cross Blue Shield is not a single company. The report says that given the inconsistent quality of plans, "it is important for seniors to consider quality and not just brand familiarity when they choose Medicare plans."