What Health Plans Need to do to Gain and Retain Consumer Trust

The health insurance industry has long witnessed low trust and low consumer satisfaction, but 2015 marked its lowest in the past decade according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). This startling finding supports the most recent National Health Care Trust Index that proved only 49% of representative respondents trust their health insurance company. In an industry experiencing increased competition and record high enrollment, this paints a bleak picture of the ability of health insurance to adapt to its new retail environment. Today, consumers have access to more choice in their health plan selection, shifting the power into their hands. So now more than ever the health insurance industry should be asking, why are consumers so dissatisfied?

According to the ACSI respondents, many cited high, out-of-pocket expenses and slow claims processing, leading to many unanswered questions and confusion regarding their policies. And with confusion comes distrust. Consumers are lacking a clear understanding of their policies needed to confidently enroll and take advantage of all that their health plan has to offer. But at each turn to clarify their confusion, they are greeted with red tape.

This is a looming problem in an industry where trust is becoming a leading factor in guiding consumer health care decisions. Not only do trusted brands matter in increasing consumer recommendations and member retention, trust is particularly important in the direct to consumer interactions health insurance companies have. Unfortunately, it is these direct to consumer interactions that were found to be the weakest point of service of all ACSI benchmarks.

With consumer engagement being the largest area for improvement in 2016 in the health insurance industry, payers must focus on giving consumers the experience they want: simplicity, transparency and convenience. It would serve them well to follow the Internet Retail industry which, according to the same ACSI benchmarks, has witnessed consumer satisfaction rising at a continuous 5% since 2013. This digital industry was measured on its product variety and selection, checkout process, description clarity, recommendations, site navigation and performance and customer support. These measures aren’t unique to Internet Retail, in fact, technology is facilitating consumer satisfaction across all industries through simplifying the consumer experience.

For the health insurance industry, following the the model Internet Retail created requires health plans to simplify their consumer and member experience- starting by gaining consumer trust. Health plans must listen to consumers, communicate with them and understand them. Wellthie’s quoting, selection and enrollment software solutions do this for you to give your consumers the seamless and simplified experience they can trust in. And by gaining trust, you gain engagement- acquiring the life long members you need for your company to succeed.


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