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eHealth: More Than Half of Payers Don't Anticipate Raising Rates Post-Pandemic

Analysis  |  By Melanie Blackman  
   May 26, 2021

Those surveyed include the general population and insurance industry representatives across three "megatrends" in the healthcare market, including the COVID-19 pandemic, technology and innovation, and policy reforms.

eHealth shared findings from a research report examining health insurance trends Wednesday morning.

The survey solicited responses from the public as well as insurance industry representatives related to three "megatrends" in the healthcare market: the COVID-19 pandemic, technology and innovation, and policy reforms.

More than half of insurers don't anticipate raising rates due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the survey found, while 39% do anticipate raising rate, but by no more than 5%.

Additionally, one-third of insurers are likely to make changes to plan benefits due to the pandemic, including 88% of payers indicating that changes are likely to affect telehealth and mental health benefits. Most plans also reported a 50% or more increase in the utilization of telehealth benefits prior to the pandemic.

"COVID had an enormous impact on how Americans view the current health care landscape, and the public’s appetite for new solutions," Michael Zundel, the national director of recruiting at UnitedHealthOne, said in a statement in the report. "Many jumped at the opportunity to obtain ACA-compliant coverage [due to mass unemployment] … it's also led to an explosion in telehealth benefit utilization … [and] between the fallout from the pandemic and the current political leadership there appears to be a very good chance that the Medicare eligibility age is reduced."

Other key findings in the report from the general population and Medicare consumers include:

COVID-19

  • Seventy percent of those surveyed said they had received at least one COVID vaccination.
  • Among Medicare beneficiaries, over 82% had received at least one COVID vaccination.
  • Most respondents said COVID vaccines should not be required by law while 53% said domestic and international travel should require proof of vaccination.

Technology and innovation

  • Almost half of those surveyed said that "private enterprise" does a better job than the government regarding healthcare innovation, 20% said the government does a better job.
  • While 53% of Medicare beneficiaries said that "private enterprise" does a better job than the government regarding healthcare innovation, 14% said the government does a better job.

Public policy reforms

  • Three-fifths of those surveyed are in favor for expanding Medicare access in some form; 28% said Medicare should be available to all Americans, 18% said the eligibility age should be lowered to 60, and 14% said adults ages 50 or older should be able to buy in early.
  • Nearly half of the respondents said Medicare should continue to "be run through public and private cooperation between government and insurers," while 16% said the government should run it alone.
  • About 75% of those surveyed said the federal government should negotiate directly with drugmakers to lower costs; 86% of Medicare beneficiaries feel the same.

Related: Medicare Advantage Plan Selections Increased 16%

Related: eHealth Snapshot: Average Monthly ACA Premiums Increased 6%

Melanie Blackman is the strategy editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.


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