CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - Dec 20, 2012) - GoHealthInsurance, the leading online exchange for individuals and families to compare health insurance quotes, has some predictions to share for 2013. With the future of the Affordable Care Act no longer in question, experts in the health insurance industry have a better idea of what lies ahead.
"2013 will be an interesting year for both health insurers and consumers," says GoHealth Marketing Manager, Mark Colwell. "Consumers are going to have a lot of questions about their options and insurers are going to want to make sure they have the answers."
Here are GoHealth's 2013 health insurance predictions:
1. Defined contribution plans pick up steam. Already a growing trend, defined contribution plans work in the following way: an employer gives workers a flat sum of money to buy their own health insurance from an online marketplace. Any medical costs above and beyond that fixed amount are the responsibility of the employee. With the rising cost of health care, we will see more and more businesses adopt this model in order to keep spending under control.
2. Health insurance companies ramp up their branding. Nine million -- that's the estimated number of people who will be eligible to purchase their own health insurance coverage once the ACA goes into effect. That is roughly two times the current number. Such a flood of potential new consumers will cause increased competition within the health insurance space. Companies will need to focus on becoming as "consumer friendly" as possible in the coming year.
3. Prevention and wellness programs gain attention. Many employers consider offering these types of programs to be a "win-win." Employees feel valued when they are extended perks such as in-office vaccinations and discounted gym memberships. In turn, employers reap the benefits of a healthier, less absent, and more positive workforce.
4. Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) become more widespread. As costs of health insurance continue to increase, many consumers are opening HSAs in conjunction with high deductible plans. HSAs are bank accounts that permit you to save money for health care expenses. Funds are tax-free, gain interest, and roll over from year to year.
5. LGBT health insurance benefits become more of a norm. Some companies already extend coverage to same-sex couples, but it remains a point of contention in the LGBT community. As competition rises in the health insurance industry, it would be unwise for insurers to ignore this demographic.
6. Increase in health insurance costs. Premium rate increases in 2012 were rather low -- the lowest in 6 years, actually. However, they are expected to rise by 6.3 percent in 2013.
GoHealth and its customer-facing website GoHealthInsurance.com is a health insurance technology platform, working with over 100 health insurance carriers and more than 10,000 licensed agents across the United States. Since the company's founding in 2001, the GoHealth platform has helped nearly 30 million Americans shop and compare health insurance quotes.