Private health insurance exchanges are changing the way insurers need to do business as the model shifts from wholesale to retail. A new study from PricewaterhouseCoopers finds consumers are a lot less focused on the price of their plan than insurance executives believe them to be.
In a survey of 100 health insurance executives, 94 percent said they thought price would be most important to consumers when selecting a health plan. But of 1,000 consumers surveyed by PwC’s Health Research Institute, only 64 percent said they consider price when selecting a plan.
In the survey, released Thursday, second of importance was the network of doctors, with both 54 percent of executives and consumers rating it as important. Consumers were also less focused on customer service (48 percent) than executives believe them to be (60 percent).
PwC says as a result health plans that place heavy emphasis on price might miss out on other differentiators that consumers are looking for. “Provider networks, ease of enrollment and customer experience will likely play key roles in health plan changes for 2015,” the study said.
The study also found that mobile technology is fast becoming an integral part of the health care consumer experience and the use of health and wellness applications among consumer rose 15 percentage points in 2013 from 2012.
As more young people are signing up for health insurance, PwC says it is more important than ever for insurers to have a mobile strategy. Of those aged 25-44, more than 35 percent have these applications on their smartphones.
Seventy-three percent of those consumers want the mobile application to provide alerts and reminders, as well as access to personal health records. They also seek access to specific disease information and products (69 percent), provider/specialist search (67.5 percent), and ability to track insurance claims (66.6 percent).
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