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Insurers Must Guide Individual Market in 2014

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media, November 28, 2012

A new survey shows consumers willing to participate in the new individual insurance market in 2014, yet unwilling to take some personal responsibility to drive down healthcare costs. How can consumers be made to connect the dots? Part of the answer lies in how insurers approach them.

This past June, the consulting firm Accenture surveyed three consumer groups expected to make up the largest chunk of the individual market that will participate in the health insurance exchanges: adults under 65 who are uninsured, individually insured, or insured through an employer with less than 100 workers. The survey found that 72% cited affordability as their main concern when it comes to health insurance.

These results aren't surprising considering the recession Americans have been weathering. But that same survey found consumers reluctant to change their behaviors to save money. For example, less than half—43%—said they'd switch to a cheaper prescription, and only 23% said they'd switch primary care doctors.

Perhaps the biggest indicator that reducing overall healthcare costs will remain a hurdle is the entrenched behavior of those eligible for subsidies. Among that group, 81% said they wanted help getting healthier, but only 40% consider regular primary care checkups a priority.

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