Kansas City, MO (PRWEB) June 21, 2012
Consumers are confused and generally uninformed about how health care reform will impact them, especially in light of the Supreme Court decision looming on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Meers Business Intelligence just released this week the non-proprietary results of their Consumer Health Care Study shedding light on a variety of topics and issues related to health care reform and health insurance in general.
Right after the hearings began, Meers surveyed consumers across the country, and in addition to the national survey, Kansas City served as a breakout market and received additional sampling.
“As the Supreme Court began their hearings in late March, we believed there was a need to find out what consumers truly know, believe and are feeling about health care reform,” said Sheree Johnson, director, business intelligence at Meers. “While other research has primarily focused on attitudes and opinions of employers, providers and carriers themselves, most consumer research has either been proprietary or focused on attitudes and opinions about health care reform along political lines, or pre-election polls.”
Despite the fact that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 were signed into law and some components began in July of 2010, only 6% of adults 18-64 throughout the country (with the same level in Kansas City) indicated that they were “very knowledgeable” about health care reform and how it will impact them and/or their family. 35% of national adults were “somewhat unknowledgeable” or “not at all knowledgeable” about health care reform, with slightly a lower level in Kansas City at 30%.
Knowledge definitely varies by gender and age, with men 32% more likely to be very knowledgeable about health care reform, and women being 43% less knowledgeable. Consumers age 25-34 are 66% more likely to be “very knowledgeable” about health care reform versus other age segments.
Johnson believes this age group has a higher level of knowledge about reform as they are in the age range that is most likely to be impacted by the mandate to carry health insurance or face a tax penalty. With dependent coverage ending at age 26, and with this 25-34 age group being the healthier age segment, but with lower incomes, they are less likely to have insurance if not covered by a group policy through their employer.
And while uninsured consumers will now (pending the ruling) have to find insurance on their own via direct with a carrier or through a state supported insurance exchange, there is a great deal of confusion of what they believe is the definition of an insurance exchange. 41% of consumers said they simply “don’t know.” Only 26% of consumers nationwide correctly identified the meaning of an exchange within the context of health care reform.
Regardless of whether or not they oppose or support health care reform, when consumers were asked to select the top five words or phrases among 20 listed (with an equal number pro/con) that they most closely associate with the health care reform law, “too much government” ranked the highest with 43% selecting this phrase. Other top words or phrases consumers associate with health care reform included: Insurance for everyone (36%); Higher costs for some (35%); Unconstitutional (29%) and Big brother (26%).
“There are a lot of misgivings, confusion, negative attitudes and more among consumers around health care reform,” Johnson said. “Certainly political beliefs and affiliations play a huge role in skewing these attitudes, but people in general just really don’t know what to believe at this point.”
The study was conducted the week of April 2 with an online panel of consumers from across the country, age 18-64. The total sample size of 650 reflects a 95% confidence level that results are statistically reliable within a +/- 5% national margin of error, and +/-8% margin of error in Kansas City.
Other non-proprietary topics (highlights are available) explored in the study included in-depth opinions of what the impact of health care reform legislation will have on respondents or their family; what types of activities can help improve the performance of the nation’s health care system; the consumer’s role in managing health care costs; self-assessment of their own health; satisfaction level of health care providers, carriers and services; and health and wellness program availability and participation.
“We did this study to provide us more consumer insight on this important issue relative to the clients we serve,” said Sam Meers, Meers president and CEO. “No doubt these attitudes will continue to evolve with the Supreme Court ruling, and certainly as we get closer to the Presidential Election and the ongoing national dialog and debate on health care reform.”
Meers is a full-service digital marketing and advertising agency headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri. The agency works to advance their clients’ business by helping them solve marketing challenges through relevant, engaging and compelling communications. Meers is a member of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As). The agency was identified as the fastest growing Kansas City private company in 2011 by Inc. Magazine’s “Inc. 5000,” and was recently recognized as one of the Top Ten finalists for the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce 2012 Small Business of the Year. (http://www.meers.com).