Survey shows insurers not interested in providing patient guidance

Survey shows insurers not interested in providing patient guidance. | Truth in Health Care BlogThe new survey from health care technology firm HealthMine is out, and respondents aren’t happy with their insurers. Seventy-three percent of respondents don’t think their insurance plan understands their health very well. And 60 percent wish they’d receive communication from their health plan that wasn’t in the form of a bill.

The annual HealthMine Health Intelligence Report finds patients increasingly searching for information to help them make health care decisions, but doing so unsuccessfully. Where to get this information? The first place many turn to is their insurer.

Insurers are missing an opportunity

As Brennan Collins, vice president of Product at HealthMine, observes,

members want one central source for their health information and health plans can be the hub. To more deeply connect with members, it is better if plan sponsors communicate through each member’s preferred channels and share health intelligence—-not just data.

What is he talking about? He’s talking about a missed opportunity. He’s talking about the fact that your insurer has your claims data, knows, for example, that you have diabetes, and could easily funnel you information to help manage your condition and keep you healthier. He’s talking about the fact that your insurer could help you determine the costs of a medical procedure in advance with the help of a transparency tool.

Patients say insurers don’t bother to increase awareness

Of course, many insurers do feature transparency tools and helpful health information on their web sites. But patients repeatedly say they’re either unaware of this guidance or find it unhelpful in answering their questions.

Again, from the survey:

  • Only 21 percent of insureds use their health plan’s web site.
  • Only 39 percent say their insurer has a transparency tool.
  • Only 30 percent say their insurer’s web site has helped them answer a health-related question.

Opinion survey findings aren’t necessarily truth. But there’s obviously a big disconnect between most patients and their insurers. It may seem harsh to say, but it’s probably a mistake to expect insurance companies to care about wellness.

What’s in it for them?

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