GutCheck Agile Research into Consumers and Health Insurance Reveal Two Core Issues Plague Industry – Cost and Trust

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GutCheck's on-demand research findings concluded that consumers continue to see affordability as key barrier to access to health insurance. Cost is prohibitive to people purchasing independent insurance – budgets cannot accommodate premium costs, while higher deductibles make people question the value of purchasing insurance at all.

Consumers are concerned about health insurance and it’s all about trust and affordability.

GutCheck, a leading on-demand research community platform, today released its first in a series of healthcare market research findings exploring the mind of consumers – their motivations, barriers to understanding and perceptions of quality healthcare.

GutCheck used its agile research methodology to research consumers and health insurance companies including consumer motivations for choosing an insurance provider, perceived pain-points and barriers to selection. The Instant Research Community (IRC) was comprised of 23 consumers (17 women and six men), and was followed by a quantitative online study comprised of 200 consumers to understand prevalence of the IRC insights. These two studies and executive summary were completed in five business days.

“There is no industry under more pressure and facing more change than healthcare. The industry dynamics created in part by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare as it is widely called, have resulted in uncertainty for just about every segment and sector of this broad category. And this sense of uncertainly is even more present in the consumer,” said Matt Warta, CEO and founder of GutCheck.

The GutCheck’s on-demand research community findings:

1.    Consumers are looking for a trustworthy, affordable option in healthcare.
Consumers are concerned about health insurance and it’s all about trust and affordability. Many on the research panel without current care were unemployed or employed part-time and cannot afford to add health insurance to their budgets. Others struggled with premium costs versus higher deductibles; and with understanding what is actually covered under a plan, or if they would even be eligible for coverage. When it came to choosing an insurance provider, the GutCheck consumer panel was looking for reassurance that an unexpected illness would not hurt them financially, and that the costs were worth the value of the coverage. Finally, they wanted expense transparency, an explanation of coverage, and a large network of doctors to allow them autonomy over their choice in hospitals and doctors. Panel commented included:

“Last year, my husband switched jobs. His new employer is a small company and does not offer health insurance. My employer’s health insurance plans are WAY too expensive. We have looked into buying private health insurance, but have not found a plan that is both affordable and offers good coverage.” – Female, 33, employed fulltime, uninsured

“The bottom line for me is how much is the yearly out of pocket maximum? Even with health insurance any illness could wipe out my savings, and probably will. I want to know what I’m liable for.” – Female, 64, self-employed, insured

2.    Cost was the most often cited pain-point, though confusing terms and jargon, as well as fear of poor coverage or denial of coverage, were also top barriers.
Most respondents cited their own bad experiences to justify a general distrust of healthcare insurance providers. Concerns with choosing providers nearly always stemmed from cost – either upfront costs, high deductibles, or costs associated with claims and coverage being denied. Additionally, distrust stemmed from confusing or convoluted terms and explanations of plans, or difficulty assessing benefits and exclusions.

A majority of respondents expressed the desire for insurance providers to make it easier for them to compare plans side by side, and to understand not only what was included with a plan, but also what was not covered. Nearly all respondents said they would like this information available online to more easily compare existing options.

“I want to know exactly what is covered and what is not. Most plans and insurers are purposely ambiguous on this and in fact you usually only find out when you’ve already received the medical care you required. That’s sickening and I don’t like this deceptive practice at all. Why can we not have clarity of what is covered? If I am to pay for something, should I now know exactly what it is I am paying for? I also want to know exactly how much my copay is, exactly how much the rates are for ‘fair and justifiable,’ so that I can insure I’m not getting screwed by the Dr. billing my insurance. This has happened to me repeatedly and I do not like it, nor do I deserve it. Health care needs to get this right!” – Male, 37, self-employed, insured

Health insurance cost was perceived as prohibitive to people purchasing independent insurance. They expressed concern that their budgets could not accommodate current premium costs, while higher deductibles had the GutCheck panel community questioning the value of purchasing insurance at all.

Respondents with pre-existing conditions expressed that they had few opportunities for coverage, leaving them frustrated with finding a trusted and reliable provider.

“It was difficult for me to find a plan because of my prior health issues. It wasn't a matter of me finding one that fit me. It was more like finding one that was ok with me. Finding a plan that would accept me that I could afford was a big hurdle for me. I had to go through a lot of plans before I found the one that was right for me.” – Female, 28, employed fulltime, insured

GutCheck followed the IRC panel with a survey of 207 healthcare consumers. These results (see GutCheck Agile Market Research Heathcare Charts attachment) reinforced the IRC findings by quantifying the prevalence of respondents concerned about the high cost associated with healthcare and feeling overwhelmed and confused by paperwork, options and plan outlines.

“This research into consumer sentiment about health insurance only begins to plumb the depth of issues and concerns consumers have with the spectrum of companies that touch their lives in the pursuit of quality, affordable healthcare,” said Warta. “A key takeaway from this research is that it’s not that complicated: When it comes to healthcare, consumers want affordability and trust.”

About GutCheck
GutCheck is an on-demand research community platform that provides real-time insights from specific customers with quality that is equivalent to or better than traditional research communities. Unlike these offerings that can challenge timelines and budgets, GutCheck’s advanced tools and efficient services deliver relevant feedback in days instead of weeks and 3 – 5x more research for the same budget. For more information:

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Media Contact:
Laura Taylor
Taylor Strategic Communications for GutCheck
(303) 346-9149 office
(720) 556-2640 mobile

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