65% of employees would rather pick their own health insurance
Studies have long shown the veracity of what’s sometimes called the “vanilla principle:” That when presented with too many options, most people choose either the simplest, most familiar one—as in, that’s why vanilla is the most popular ice cream flavor—or choose nothing at all.
However, new research from HealthPocket shows that a majority of Americans are ready to explore other flavors—at least when it comes to health insurance. Perhaps driven by the allure of advertising for soon-to-open insurance exchanges, the insurance research firm finds that 65% of employees say they’d prefer to select their own health insurance company, rather than choose from a slate of options from their employer.
According to HealthPocket, “the elimination of many disparities between the individual and employer-based health insurance markets under Obamacare will result in easier worker migrations from the employer market into the individual market.”
Employees are looking beyond vanilla—and soon they will be able to choose outside of their employer. If you were not convinced before, let this be another reminder that your communications need to be crystal clear and you need to be reinforcing the value of your employer-provided benefits.
Cover Oregon doesn’t quite have it covered
Oregon—one of 14 states that chose to finance and operate its own health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act—has hit some stumbling blocks in the state’s effort to open its marketplace by Oct. 1 (just 50 days from today).
Bloomberg reports this week that state officials have announced that applicants to the Oregon exchange won’t be able to purchase health coverage completely independently on Oct. 1—rather, for at least two weeks, they’ll need the assistance of a third-party broker or similar organization.
Similar functionality delays are occurring in states building DIY exchanges, including Connecticut and Nevada, Bloomberg reports. However, a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokesman opted to accentuate the positive, saying: “There will be a marketplace open in every state on Oct. 1, where families can comparison shop for quality, affordable health coverage.”
This week’s hidden gem: Health insurers take to Twitter
Got a health question, coverage query or claim complaint? Take to the twitterverse! It’s increasingly likely that your insurer will reply.
News from Kaiser Health News this week reveals that health carriers are popping up on Twitter to more quickly address customer service concerns. A few examples: @aetnahelp, @askanthem and @cignaquestions.
According to KHN, Aetna has a pretty sophisticated operation, with a social media director and team of six to answer all tweets to the insurer within one hour.
Not too shabby. Just goes to further show that this social media thing is more than just a flash in the pan. Perhaps you’ve been looking to get started with social media in benefits communication, but are unsure/wary about getting started. We can help! Check out our Social Media Starter Kit and Poster.