The COBRA Blog

PPACA Update: Interest in Health Exchange Highest Among Five Key Consumer Types

Posted by Robert Meyers on Tue, Mar 26, 2013 @ 14:03 PM

The Health Insurance Exchanges required under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are beginning to show signs of interest among Americans—nearly half—according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2013 Member Health Plan Study released just last week.

The study was based on responses from more than 33,000 members of 136 health plans in seventeen regions throughout the U.S., examining seven factors: choice of providers, claim processing, customer access and service, approval process, statements, information and communication.

Key findings from the study revealed:

  • 48 percent of health plan members said they are interested in shopping the online marketplace exchanges that are on schedule to be fully functional come October, 2013. 
  • 50 percent said that if their employer offers only one type of health plan, they would consider shopping on the exchanges. 
  • 36 percent said that if their employers offers a choice of health plans, that they might consider shopping the exchanges.
The online marketplaces where individuals and small businesses can shop for insurance will appeal to some—but not to all. According to the survey, there are five key consumer types that show the highest interest in the public exchanges and include:

Consumers with low satisfaction. Good old-fashioned customer service plays a role in shaping consumer interest in using healthcare exchanges. Consumers who had contacted their plan provider last year due to problems are showing more interest in using the exchange (60%).

Consumers employed by a small company. Interest in the exchanges is highest among employees who are working for a small company (53%), followed by medium (48%), and large (43%).

Consumers who purchase their own insurance. Respondents from the survey who purchased insurance on their own and not through their employer indicated that they would most likely shop through one of the exchanges.

Consumers who are not offered a choice of health plans. For those with employers who offer no choice of insurers, showed more interest in shopping thorough an exchange (50%), than those who offered a choice (36%).

Consumers with a high-deductible plan. It comes as no surprise that a large percentage of consumers (59%) who are currently enrolled in a high-deductible major medical plan indicated that they’ll be shopping the exchange to find affordable plans with lower deductible options, vs. people with a lower deductible plan (45%).

No matter what demographic category you or your employees might fit into, the study advises consumers, businesses, and health plan members to have a clear understanding of their coverage, deductible, administrative, and payment options. With all the new changes in healthcare just around the corner, it’s important for employers to understand some of the predictive behaviors behind the choices that their employees will be making.  

If you haven’t outsourced your COBRA administration yet, now is the time to explore your options. With the added challenge of PPACA compliance, most HR teams welcome the relief of outsourcing COBRA administration. To further explore the option, download our free report – “In Search of ROO (Return on Outsourcing).” 


Tags: ppaca, cobra administration, cobra blog, COBRA solutions, COBRA outsourcing, health exchange

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