Many consumers really, really hate shopping for health insurance, according to Lynn Quincy, a senior health policy analyst at Consumers Union.
The Institute of Medicine, Washington, a federal advisory panel, has included a summary of a presentation by Quincy in a preliminary account of a recent conference on health insurance distribution exchange construction.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) calls for states to set up health insurance exchanges, or Web-based health insurance supermarkets, for individuals and small groups by 2014. Massachusetts and Utah already have state-organized exchanges, and several private companies have set up online health insurance supermarkets.
IOM conference speakers discussed ways to help consumers understand and make meaningful comparisons of health plan options.
Quincy said Consumers Union, Yonkers, N.Y., has conducted two studies on how consumers react to proposed health insurance disclosure forms and a third study on how consumers react to efforts to explain how much “actuarial value” a plan provides.
Consumers Union found that “consumers dread shopping for health insurance,” staff members of the IOM’s parent, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), Washington, write in the summary of Quincy’s presentation.