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Insurers Must Guide Individual Market in 2014

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media, November 28, 2012

The findings of Accenture's survey expose both the knowledge and behavior of U.S. consumers about healthcare as a chronic weakness. Similarly, a poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation released last month reported 41% of consumers saying they were "confused" about healthcare reform.

Are they the only ones?

No. Employers' understanding is lagging, too. A Deloitte survey in July showed 51% of employers describing themselves as having "some," "limited," or no understanding "at all" of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The larger the organization, the more likely the executives were to understand the scope of healthcare reform, but consider that only 26% of benefits administrators said they had a "good" understanding of PPACA.

So what do these survey findings mean when considered as a sum? Clearly, there is a lot of confusion among employers and consumers about what's coming. However, it also opens the door for insurers who are prepared to offer easy access to simple information that puts them in the role of educator instead of seller, at least initially.

Jean-Pierre Stephan, healthcare senior executive for Accenture, says what insurers will likely struggle with is gauging what consumers want.

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