Prophet, a strategic brand and marketing consultancy, released the findings from its 2014 survey of consumer attitudes and experiences with the Affordable Care Act’s first healthcare exchange open enrollment period. The survey of 1000 American adults reveals that while nearly half of respondents plan to purchase healthcare on the exchange in the future, concerns over cost, confusion over subsidies and general distrust of health insurance companies persist.
“With an estimated 40+ million Americans still uninsured, there are huge untapped opportunities for healthcare companies who understand the customer experience from the first OEP and adjust their targets and tactics accordingly for the next enrollment period,” explains Jeff Gourdji, associate partner at Prophet.
Designed to identify consumer preferences, drivers and barriers when engaging with the exchange, the survey yields important learnings for improving the experience in the next enrollment cycle. Some general insights:
- There is continued confusion around eligibility for subsidies. 57% of those who were eligible for government subsidies were unaware of their status
- The long-term uninsured intend to stay that way. 63% of respondents who have been uninsured for more than five years indicate they definitely or probably will NOT purchase insurance on the exchange
- Less than ¼ of survey respondents trust health insurance companies to do the right thing
Two demographic groups stand out as high potential targets for healthcare companies to court in the next enrollment period. The first is Independent Millennials, a subset of Millennials who are not covered under their parent’s plan and tend to be older, more educated and more independent than their peers. The second is Acculturated Hispanics, a group that is slightly younger, more educated and wealthier than the nation’s population of Hispanics as a whole.
While Millennials tend to be more disengaged with their health until they are sick, they are twice as likely as non-Millennials to plan on purchasing on the exchange. They also express less negativity toward the exchange than older groups, with 56% reporting positive experiences with it and 66% indicating they found it easy to use the exchange to compare insurance plans. 70% rely on social networking sites for information on the exchange. Perceptions of high cost continue to be the largest barrier to purchasing insurance for this group and confusion over eligibility for subsidies further clouds the picture. Millennials are more than twice as likely to seek help when choosing a plan. While they mostly seek out friends and family for advice, there is an opportunity for healthcare companies to be a valued source of education and guidance.
Nearly half of Hispanics who have not enrolled in the exchange (46%) plan to do so in the future. 52% would consider purchasing health insurance from a company with an established track record, and 46% would give up access to a quantity of services for a small set of quality services. This group is enthusiastic about health insurance in general and places a high value on it for their families, but expresses confusion about how the program works (24%) and who qualifies for government subsidies (35%). For guidance, this group seeks out websites related to the exchanges (44%), doctors and healthcare professionals (24%) and news coverage about the exchanges (20%). Health insurance brands have an opportunity to fill the information gap and become a trusted source of guidance for this population.
“The general positivity we saw from both groups has important implications going forward as healthcare companies try to leverage this information and plan for October, when the exchanges open again,” says John Kutz, partner at Prophet.
Prophet’s healthcare practice leverages cross-industry experience with global brands to help its healthcare clients win in the marketplace. The firm works with healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, payers and administrators, medical device and diagnostic companies and healthcare service providers. For more information, visit prophet.com/healthcare
Prophet is a strategic brand and marketing consultancy with offices around the world, including Berlin, Hong Kong, London and Zurich. The firm helps companies win by delivering inspired and actionable ideas. Prophet has worked with leading brands such as BMW, Cisco, Electrolux, GE, Johnson & Johnson, McDonald's, Siemens, UBS and Zurich Financial on a broad scope of projects in its areas of expertise: brand, marketing, innovation, design, digital and analytics.
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Kathleen Hatfield, +1 305-934-6696