Last year we conducted some research for a health insurance group here in the Southeast. The focus was on improving the customer experience, but we also asked consumers a series of questions about what they really wanted from their health insurance. Here are some of the topline findings:
1ne: Consumers want their health insurers to treat them like customers not expendable people. They felt that it was “their money” and wanted more of a say in their benefits. This was true for respondents who had company sponsored insurance as well as private insurance.
2wo: They want insurers to give rebates to customers who take steps to control their health through exercise and diet. As one person said “I work out five days a week. Why should I pay the same as someone who is overweight and eats cheeseburgers, three days a week?”.
3hree: They want insurers to help them navigate the complex maze of healthcare based on what’s best for the them, not the insurers costs”.
4our: Better customer service with people who really want to help. No phone trees and no wait times.
5ive: “Help me understand what is happening and why”. The idea of a personal insurance coordinator when a patient checks into the hospital was very highly received. Patients want to know why doctors want an MRI or why they are being seen by three different doctors.
6ix: Everyone felt that insurers should not be able to terminate anyone’s insurance and that preexisting conditions should be covered. They were very vocal about this and continued without our moderator for some time.
Finally, when asked for a way to control costs suggestions ranged from “negotiate with hospitals and pharma companies for better prices to charge higher premiums for people who don’t make an effort to take care of themselves”. However, they all said that the premiums should not be so high that people could not afford insurance. The vast majority, (87%) also said that they did not feel the government could come up with a solution because of the influence of healthcare companies.
This was a qualitative research conducted in June/July 2016 with 127 people with either private or company health insurance.