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43% of Americans Will Shop for a New Health Insurance Policy

A new report from MPO Research Group addresses critical trends in the health insurance industry following the changes brought on by the Affordable Care Act, including the finding that 43% of Americans are likely to shop for a new insurance policy via the Affordable Care Act’s online exchanges.

In October 2013 the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s online health insurance marketplace was launched, giving customers a venue to compare prices and policies. Of course, the well-publicized problems with the website have been both an embarrassment for the administration and an impediment to those interested in researching new policies.

For insurers trying to adapt to the changes, the question of what this means in regards to consumer behavior. For businesses trying to adapt to changes in the market, the tumultuous marketplace launch has clouded earlier projections. Fortunately, MPO Research Groups recent report ‘The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on the US Health Insurance Market’ takes into account the issues and helps insurers plan for their future.

To identify how consumers will respond to the exchanges over time, as the politicization of the ACA fades and the technical issues are addressed, survey respondents were asked: ‘if information on different health insurance policies and prices was easily available to you, how likely would you be to shop for a new policy?’

Data from this question answers questions about use of the Affordable Care Act exchanges as they are intended (without bringing the Healthcare.gov website’s technical issues or the individual’s political opinions into consideration). This kind of information has valuable implications for insurers.

If information to aid comparison-shopping was made available, 36% of Americans said they would be very or somewhat likely to shop for a new policy. 44% said they would not be likely to shop and 13% weren’t sure.

Gender

More men than women said they would be very likely to switch (26.2% of men compared to 19.5% of women), while more women than men said they would be somewhat likely to switch (23.2% of women to 17.7% of men). Taken together, there is no significant difference between men and women likely to switch.

Age

Younger consumers are much more likely to shop for new insurance if information was more easily available.

Advertisement 28.8% of those aged 18-29 said they would be very likely, and that portion decreases with age, reaching a low of 14.4% among those aged over 60. Conversely, 52.1% of Americans over 60 said they would not be likely at all to shop for a new policy, a figure that drops with age, reaching a low of 36.3% among 18-29 year olds.

Ethnicity

Among different ethnic groups, Hispanics are the most likely to shop for a new policy: over half said they were very or somewhat likely to do so if information existed. Caucasians are the least likely to switch health insurance policies, with only 39% saying they would be likely to do so.

This data is based on a survey of 1,326 randomly selected American adults, conducted between October 17 and November 3, 2013. The margin of error is 2.69%. These findings and others are presented in MPO Research Group’s report ‘The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on the US Health Insurance Market’. The report is available for purchase at www.mpohealthcare.com

MPO Healthcare is a division of MPO Research Group, a non-partisan, Washington, DC-based research group. For more information, contact whitney@mporesearch.comor call (202) 738-0483.



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