Consumers Can’t Get in to See Their Doctors

Nov 18, 2019

A Cigna survey found healthcare consumers were facing difficulties based on affordability, predictability, and simplicity.

Too many consumers are facing routine barriers in the attempt of seeing a physician, according to a recent survey by Cigna.

According to Cigna’s website, the survey was compiled of 1,250 people who were asked about their healthcare experiences and the factors that can be barriers to receiving care. These barriers the survey found are affordability, simplicity, and predictability.

Nearly 71% of people surveyed admitted to avoiding or delaying a doctor’s visit.

The top responses were:

  • High costs (43%)

  • Lack of time (41%)

  • Lack of health insurance (34%)

  • Inconvenient office hours (31%)

  • Long wait times (24%)

  • Transportation difficulties (21%)

The study also identified consumer needs, finding:

  • Ninety percent of respondents would consider knowing actual drug costs and where to get the best prices to be a real benefit.

  • Fifty-seven percent feel the complexity of the healthcare system is a barrier to care; close to six in ten consumers agree the healthcare system is so complicated they have trouble getting the help and answers they need.

  • Seventy percent of respondents agree they want to speak with someone immediately, regardless of the time of day, when they have an issue.

  • Eighty-seven percent of consumers say health insurance plans should make it easy for customers to talk to a doctor or nurse 24/7.

  • More than half say a health insurance plan that helped identify opportunities to decrease out-of-pocket costs would make them more interested in that plan.

According to Cigna, there are solutions to these needs.

Affordability
 

When it comes to preventive care, most insurance plans provide coverage for in-network basic preventive care services, such as an annual check-up, at no additional cost.

For other types of care, it’s recommended to look for plans that offer quality care providers in your local area, as well as other low or no-cost benefits such as prescription discounts and health coaching.

Four out of five consumers who buy their own insurance on the exchange qualify for federal premium subsidies to lower their monthly premium cost, so it’s also encouraged to find out if you’re eligible for federal subsidies or tax credits, the report says.

Related: Many Patients Say Their Doctors Lack Compassion

Simplicity

Next, it’s encouraged to look for a health plan addressing the issue of convenience in accessing care. For example, this can be done through a 24-hour health support line or through virtual care (telehealth) appointments, at no additional cost. These services can help maintain health and wellness beyond the basic preventive care screenings, the report says.

Eighty-seven percent of respondents said health insurance plans should make it easy for consumers to talk to a doctor or nurse 24/7, and 81% are more likely to consider a health plan that provides around-the-clock support.

The survey also shares 70% of all respondents said they would be willing to try a telehealth service in which they could talk to a doctor over the phone or computer without having to visit an office. In addition, 80% of parents with children under age 18 years would be willing to try such a service.

Predictability

Lastly, predictability is connected to both cost and convenience.

While individual consumer needs are different, it’s recommended consumers have a plan that delivers promises, collaborate with quality community providers, is known to be affordable, have customer service and is dependable.

Additionally, Cigna encourages consumers to check to see if the plan you are choosing offers an online tool that allows you to estimate your costs by procedure and by health care provider in order to make smart choices and know what to expect.

Caring for the health and well-being of our customers who purchase their health plan on the individual health care exchange is a responsibility that Cigna takes seriously, says Lisa Lough, general manager of Cigna’s individual and family plans business, in the report.

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