People in general just aren’t that happy with their health coverage, no matter the provider. But Medicare enrollees are giddy with delight about their insurance compared to those who receive health insurance courtesy of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Yet those covered with an exchange plan appear to be increasingly taking their insurance plan design, and medical care, into their own hands. That suggests that the president’s effort to educate the public about insurance and medical care is working.
Such is the gist of a study released Monday by consulting firm Deloitte, via an internal research arm.
Deloitte asked insurance consumers to rate their level of satisfaction with their current plan. Those sampled were insured through Obamacare, employer-sponsored insurance, Medicaid and Medicare.
Turns out Medicare enrollees are the most satisfied, at 58 percent, and PPACA customers are the least satisfied, at 30 percent. About four in 10 enrolled in employer plans say they are satisfied with their coverage, and about half of those covered by Medicaid expressed satisfaction. Overall, less than half (46 percent) of those surveyed said they were satisfied with their plan.
But deeper into the study, evidence surfaced that PPACA is making a difference when it comes to educating consumers about their health care and coverage, and encouraging them to pay more attention to both.
“The exchanges seem to be improving access and making inroads into preventive care,” the study said.
Highlights of the study include:
- Obamacare enrollees “better understand their benefits and costs and are more likely to compare providers and services on price and, to some extent, quality. They also are willing to switch plans, thrusting carriers into a new arena of having to continually win over this segment based on price, product and service.”
- About half the exchange enrolled consumers “used an online tool to compare and negotiate prices among doctors and hospitals, versus 45 percent for those with employer-based coverage and 36 percent for those on Medicare.”
- Exchange plan enrollers were more likely to use online tools “to determine how much their plan would pay for services” compared to other plan members.
Exchange enrollees are digging into their plans to see what’s there that may help them. Nearly two-thirds said “they used their plans to seek services and purchase medication with nearly 75 percent of those saying they may not have been able to afford it without their coverage.”
The same was true when the questions turned to preventive care: 76 percent reported having “a professional they consider to be a primary care provider — twice the rate of the uninsured — and nearly 60 percent report visiting a doctor for a well visit in the past year, similar to people covered by their employers.”
Deloitte spotted opportunities for insurers in the results.
“The ACA individual market is still a new phenomenon that is up for grabs,” said Paul Lambdin, director, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and exchange practice leader for the plans sector. “Loyalty is not locked in like it is in other industries — there could be a significant opportunity for traditional players and new entrants to seize market share by listening to what consumers say about product, price and service.”