J.D. Power, Westlake Village, Calif, reports that UnitedHealthcare ranks highest in customer satisfaction with dental plan providers, performing particularly well in the coverage, cost, communications, and customer service factors. The new report, titled “J.D. Power 2014 Dental Plan Satisfaction Report, measures customer satisfaction with dental plan providers based on five factors (in order of importance): coverage, cost, communications, customer service, and reimbursement. Satisfaction is calculated on a 1,000-point scale.

Among dental plan members who rate overall satisfaction with their dental provider outstanding (10 on a 10-point scale), 84% say they “definitely will” choose their current provider in the future, compared with the report average of 43%. Among members who rate their overall satisfaction outstanding, the average number of positive recommendations is 4.2, an increase from the report average of 1.7.

The most common types of dental care services used in the past year include regular check-ups or cleaning (86%), x-rays (58%), fillings (32%), and crowns or bridges (18%).

Communication is important to satisfaction. Across all dental plan providers, 41% percent of members indicate they have not received any information about their plan from their provider. Overall satisfaction among those members is 673, which is 50 points below the report average and 116 points below that among members who did receive some type of information from their provider.

Overall satisfaction among dental plan members is 723.

“Dental plan members need to fully understand how their plan works,” said Rick Johnson, director of the healthcare practice at J.D. Power. “When dental plan providers clearly communicate plan details and benefits to their members, there is a deeper appreciation of the plan value, which fosters an increase in satisfaction and loyalty metrics.”

The 2014 Dental Plan Satisfaction Report is based on responses from 2,640 dental plan members. The study was fielded from October through November 2014.