Exchange Enrollees More Cost Conscious but Less Satisfied With Plans

Enrollees on the public health insurance exchanges have shown themselves to be savvy, informed consumers, according to the results from the 2015 Survey of US Health Care Consumers report from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.

Enrollees on the public health insurance exchanges have shown themselves to be savvy, informed consumers, according to the results from the 2015 Survey of US Health Care Consumers report from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.

The report found that public health insurance exchange consumers differ from customers with other sources of insurance coverage. Those on the exchanges are more cost conscious, price sensitive, and focused on finding a plan that offers good value and fit.

However, affordability of care remains an issue. While their access to care has improved thanks to the public health insurance exchanges, with 65% reporting that they are now getting care they may not have been able to afford before, nearly one-third report having trouble paying out-of-pocket healthcare expenses. Only 24% believe they can get affordable care when they need it.

Plan satisfaction also remains an issue, according to the report, with enrollees on the public health insurance exchange are less likely to be satisfied with their current health plan than individuals in employer plans or Medicare.

“Compared to other insured cohorts, [public health insurance exchange] enrollees are less confident that they can get affordable care and feel less prepared financially to handle their future health care costs,” the authors wrote in the report.

Overall, only 30% of exchange enrollees said they were satisfied with their current health plan. Plan switching occurred for nearly half of renewing enrollees. The most commonly reported driver of plan dissatisfaction and switching was price, but enrollees also indicated that broader coverage or better alignment with personal needs were drivers of plan switching.

Enrollees on the exchanges pay greater attention to healthcare costs and quality than individuals with other sources of coverage. In fact, these consumers reported they would be more likely to use an online tool that tells how much a health plan would pay for certain services or a tool that could help compare and negotiate prices with doctors and hospitals, and are more likely to ask about pricing before agreeing to treatment.

“These early signs suggest that [health insurance exchange] enrollees are becoming savvy, informed consumers who are geared to shop around not just for health insurance, but also for health care services and products,” the authors wrote.