SOURCE: ConnectedHealth

ConnectedHealth

October 15, 2015 09:54 ET

As Open Enrollment Nears, Americans Still Puzzled by Obamacare and Concerned About Rising Costs

Survey Findings Reveal Angst Among Adults Who Purchase Their Own Health Care

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - October 15, 2015) - ConnectedHealth, a private insurance exchange company that offers customized tools to help individuals and employees achieve better health and financial security, today announces findings from its recent survey of U.S. adults who purchase their own health insurance.

With Open Enrollment beginning on November 1 -- and considering that the number of insured Americans in 2014 increased, yet median household income remained stagnant -- the survey exposes that many are under financial strain when faced with the reality of health insurance costs. The survey also reveals that while more people have coverage, health care is still a confusing prospect.

"Our survey results support that health care has a long way to go before becoming a painless process, " says ConnectedHealth President Joe Donlan. "Americans are seeking tools to help them cut through the clutter and better understand their health care needs, as well as evaluate those needs against their finances to ensure they can afford proper coverage now and as they plan for the future."

The survey found that navigating the health care system remains a puzzling proposition:

  • More than half (54 percent) of Americans feel that selecting a health insurance plan is more complicated than solving a Rubik's Cube.
  • More than one in three (39 percent) Americans -- including 49 percent of Millennials -- cannot correctly define "deductible."
  • Americans who purchase their health insurance online spend an average of nearly two hours (117 minutes) selecting a plan; 46 percent spend two hours or more.
  • More than one in five Americans -- including 28 percent of Boomers -- were dissatisfied with the experience of purchasing their health plan.
  • Additionally, 27 percent of Americans would rate their satisfaction level as a five out of 10 or less.
  • 50 percent of Americans feel that a cost-comparison tool would make selecting a health plan easier, followed by a more streamlined, time-efficient process (43 percent) and personalized recommendations based on their financial needs (42 percent).

Furthermore, the survey uncovered financial concerns about health care costs and potential double-digit premium hikes in 2016:

  • After a plan that meets all their medical needs, cost is Americans' top concern when choosing the best-quality health plan (40 percent and 36 percent, respectively). Only 12 percent reported access to preferred doctors as their top concern, which is contrary to past findings.
  • There's a reason Americans are pinching pennies. One in three (33 percent) is not confident they could pay their full deductible if they had a medical emergency today, and 35 percent are not confident they could pay their premium if it increased by 10 percent.
  • Though they do their best to select a plan that's cost-efficient, a large price tag is also Americans' biggest health care complaint: After purchasing their own health insurance, 44 percent, including 51 percent of parents, experienced out-of-pocket costs that were higher than expected.
  • When selecting a new health insurance plan, Americans carefully consider a mix of factors, but money tops the list: income - 64 percent, medical needs - 63 percent, financial security - 31 percent, long-term savings - 25 percent, value of their assets - 17 percent.
  • $334 is the average amount of money Americans allocate each month to paying premium, co-pays, prescriptions and other out-of-pocket health costs.

Based on prior years, ConnectedHealth expects that 10 percent of enrollees will start shopping for health insurance through its partner brokers and association clients' Web portals, even before the sign-up period begins. In contrast, typically 30 percent of customers wait to shop until the last few days of Open Enrollment. The remaining 60 percent shop throughout the three-month period, and it can take up to four to six email reminders for consumers to finish enrolling. ConnectedHealth's platform uses automated emails, optional avatar technology, online chat, surveys and Web advertising to ensure member engagement.

To prepare for 2016 Open Enrollment, ConnectedHealth has optimized its online chat functionality, which gives direct access to licensed agents. Enrollees are also encouraged to use free tools, such as My Thrive Score™, which offers a "credit score" for an individual's health and financial security status. ConnectedHealth will launch other tools and products in the coming months to help consumers navigate the complexities in insurance products today.

For more information and data visualization to support ConnectedHealth's survey findings, visit http://www.connectedhealth.com/2015/10/08/connectedhealth-consumer-survey-results-2015/.

About ConnectedHealth

ConnectedHealth makes it easy for consumers and employees to shop for personalized insurance benefits online. Founded by the pioneers in consumer health care transparency, the company's award-winning e-commerce platform helps businesses control costs and supports their entire workforce in protecting their health and financial security. Learn more at ConnectedHealth.com or on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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