Study: Consumers more confident shopping online for health insurance

Connecture survey shows 42% of Americans have shopped online for insurance


Despite uncertainty related to health care reform and the fate of the Affordable Care Act, consumers are becoming more confident shopping for health insurance online, according to a new five-year consumer research study by Brookfield-based Connecture Inc.

Connecture, a health enrollment software company, released today the results from a consumer survey of more than 8,000 Americans who get health insurance on their own, through their employer or have Medicare. It was conducted from 2012 to 2017, showing the change in consumer opinion and behavior from before and after the 2014 Affordable Care Act took effect.


Among the key findings from the study, Connecture representatives said, is the growth in Americans who have shopped online for health insurance, which increased from 14 percent in 2012 to 42 percent in 2017.

The study also indicates consumers are growing more confident in their ability to shop for health insurance, with 56 percent saying they were comfortable shopping by themselves with little or no assistance from friends or family in 2017, up from 37 percent in 2012.

Four times as many Americans are using online tools to shop for group or employer-sponsored insurance — an increase from 9.5 percent in 2012 to 38 percent in 2017, according to the survey.

In 2017, 81 percent of customers at companies with 500 or more employees enrolled online, compared to 52 percent at companies with fewer than 500 employees, the survey said. The study indicated that customers who enroll online, compared to on paper, are more engaged in the decision making process and are also more interested in ancillary benefits, such as dental, vision and life insurance. 

Meanwhile, a majority of consumers aren’t taking much time to weigh their employer-sponsored insurance options, according to the survey. Of those with employer-sponsored insurance, 59 percent said they would spend no more than one hour to research and choose their health plan. And nearly 50 percent said they are not sure what they pay in health care costs each month, according to the study.

More Americans are pleased with the benefit options offered by their employers, with 34 percent feeling “extremely satisfied” in 2017, an increase from 22 percent in 2012, according to the survey.

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