Five factors that influence health plan selection

July 15, 2015

A recent survey by FAIR Health, an independent, not-for-profit dedicated to healthcare cost and insurance transparency, indicates the top factors that influence consumers' health plan selection.

 

 

A recent survey by FAIR Health, an independent, not-for-profit dedicated to healthcare cost and insurance transparency, indicates the top factors that influence consumers' health plan selection. The survey, of more than 1,000 adults, was conducted in March, 2015.

 

 

 

While about a quarter of all survey respondents said monthly premium cost is their top concern, a higher percentage of the younger respondents did so. Twenty eight percent of these (ages 18 to 44) ranked it as their highest concern, while only 18% of respondents ages 65 or older did so.

“Millennials (ages 18-34) may be slightly more price sensitive because they are at earlier stages in their career and earning less money,” said Robin Gelburd, president of FAIR Health.  “Younger Gen-Xers (ages 35-44) are at a life stage where raising a child might trigger cost concerns.” 

 

 

 

The same percentage of respondents said total out-of-pocket costs is their top concern as the percentage of respondents who said monthly premium cost is their top concern.

Again, fewer older respondents (ages 65 and older), said it was their top concern. While only 18% of respondents from this age group said it was their top concern, between 25% and 22% of respondents in all other age groups did so.

 

 

 

The highest percentage of respondent ranked whether their primary care physician or family doctor accepts the plan as their top concern.

This factor was most important to respondents ages 45 to 64. Thirty two percent of these respondents said it was their top concern. Only 16% of respondents ages 35 to 44 ranked it as their top concern.

“The FAIR Health survey shows that while consumers did not list the number of doctors in the network as a prime factor when enrolling in a health insurance plan, if the primary care doctors consumers prefer are not in their network, it will factor into their decisions when selecting a plan,” said Gelburd. 

 

 

 

It appears that most consumers don't place a lot of emphasis on deductibles when selecting plans. Only 4% of respondents ages 65 and older said it was their top concern. The age group with the highest percentage of respondents stating that the deductible was most important to them was between ages 35 to 44. Still, only 14% of these respondents said it was their top concern.

 

 

 

Even fewer respondents said the number of doctors in the network was their top concern. The age group with the highest percentage (9%) of respondents who ranked network size as the most important, was ages 35 to 44. 

 

 

 

 

The survey also asked, "How does cost affect your decisions about choosing a doctor." Forty eight percent of respondents said they always or usually consider it, 18% said they occasionally consider it, and 31% said they never consider it.

According to the FAIR Health survey, Latinos, women, adults younger than 45, low-income households and people with children in their households are the most likely to say that cost usually or always influenced their decisions when choosing a doctor.