[REPORT] WHAT REALLY MATTERS TO HEALTHCARE CONSUMERS

With healthcare coverage going into effect earlier this month under the Affordable Care Act, government officials have released some details about how many Americans have signed up for health insurance and the general age breakdown. But much of the publicly available information on the changing healthcare industry and the Affordable Care Act covers the topics broadly without reaching individual healthcare consumers.

As a market research company, we tapped into the power of our respondent base and connected with real consumers directly to better understand their experiences with the healthcare marketplaces. With health insurance increasingly becoming a consumer’s choice, it’s more important than ever for insurance companies and healthcare marketers to better understand consumers’ preferences and behaviors.

To that end, we conducted our most recent Lab42 survey by reaching 500 healthcare consumers who used the federal or state exchanges to sign up for health insurance in order to gauge their experiences with the exchanges and also identify similarities in how decisions were made among those who chose similar plan packages (i.e. Bronze, Silver, Gold) and health insurance carriers.

Among the findings, we uncovered that Blue Cross Blue Shield experienced the strongest market share with 52% of respondents choosing it as a carrier. Other carriers experienced a larger market share in specific states. Below is a visual of insurance carriers broken down by plan type.

When selecting a specific insurance carrier and plan type, the most important factor was “fits my monthly budget” (26%), and the second most cited reason was the level of coverage provided (17%).

The study also revealed that the Silver package was the most popular option selected, with 40 percent of the respondents choosing it as their plan package. Bronze, the least expensive option that is widely available, was chosen by 23 percent of respondents, while the more comprehensive options, Gold and Platinum, were selected by 24 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

Despite initial technical difficulties with healthcare.gov, 80% of healthcare consumers who signed up online would highly or somewhat recommend using the online signup method. This pattern was also seen in satisfaction with the online option with 71% being very or somewhat satisfied. While complicating the initial rollout, technical glitches haven’t deterred consumers from using the online signup method in the future. Nearly nine in ten (87%) said they are highly or somewhat likely to use the same method again.

The full report is available for download here.

METHODOLOGY

The Lab42 survey was fielded among 500 adults in the United States, ages 18 and up, who used a federal or state health exchange to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The survey was conducted from December 16 – 28, 2013.

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