There’s a lot of uncertainty around health insurance these days, what with partisan back and forth and unsuccessful repeal-and-replace attempts, even as the popularity of the ACA increases.
And one indication of that popularity could be that consumers are growing more confident shopping for their health insurance online. That’s according to a five-year consumer research study by health enrollment software company Connecture Inc.
According to a new report, the change in consumer opinion and behavior from before and after the ACA took effect indicates that not only are more people shopping online for coverage — up from 14 percent in 2012 to 42 percent in 2017 — but also that they’re getting more confident as they do so.
In fact, 56 percent say they’re comfortable shopping by themselves with little or no assistance from friends or family. Back in 2012, only 37 percent said so. In addition, four times as many are using online tools to shop for group or employer-sponsored insurance: 38 percent in 2017, compared to 9.5 percent five years ago.
Meanwhile, 81 percent of customers at companies with 500 or more employees enrolled online, compared with 52 percent at companies with fewer than 500 employees. The study also indicates that those who enroll online are more engaged in the decision making process compared with those who enroll on paper, and are also more interested in ancillary benefits, such as dental, vision and life insurance.
But that doesn’t mean they’re taking a lot of time to carefully research the offerings or even pay attention to premiums. Among those with employer-sponsored insurance, 59 percent said they wouldn’t spend more than one hour to research and choose their health plan; nearly 50 percent said they’re not sure what they pay in health care costs each month.
But more are pleased with the benefit options their employers offer, with 34 percent feeling “extremely satisfied” in 2017, up from just 22 percent in 2012.