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October 31, 2017
Nation of Insurance Uncertainty: Zocdoc Study Reveals Americans Need Help Deciphering Health Insurance Coverage
Insured Americans struggle to determine what their insurance will cover and which doctors are in-network; 1 in 5 have been turned away when booking with a new doctor because the doctor didn't accept their insurance
On the threshold of open enrollment, beginning November 1, 2017, Zocdoc released the results of its Insurance Confidence survey, which examines Americans’ understanding of how insurance works and the level of confidence in their own insurance coverage.
The study, conducted on behalf of Zocdoc by Kelton Global, found that insured Americans struggle to identify in-network doctors and find it difficult to determine what their insurance will cover. In particular, millennials were the least confident group surveyed, and are more likely than other generations to have put off seeing a doctor because they didn’t understand their health insurance or they couldn’t find their insurance card.
“The health insurance landscape is changing rapidly, and the burden continues to shift to the patient in the form of higher deductibles and narrower networks,” said Oliver Kharraz, MD, Zocdoc founder and CEO. “These changes make it even more important to provide patients with digital tools that help them find in-network doctors. Zocdoc is committed to using technology to make it easier for people to access the care they need. Our new Insurance Checker feature uses AI technology to scan your insurance card and verify plan details, giving patients more power and confidence when booking appointments.”
Insured Americans Struggle to Find In-Network Doctors
Patients agree that finding an in-network doctor is one of the most important factors when booking an appointment – above cost, location and reviews – and yet they lack modern, digital tools to easily find this information.
- One in five (20 percent) insured Americans have been turned away when booking with a new doctor because the doctor didn’t accept their insurance.
- More than a quarter (28 percent) of insured Americans are not always confident that the doctors they book appointments with will be in-network, and 16 percent made an appointment with a new doctor not knowing if their insurance covered the visit.
- The majority (51 percent) of insured Americans think it would be frustrating to ensure their preferred doctors were still in-network if their insurance were to change.*
Major Pain Points: Insurance Coverage and Cards
One major factor in deciphering coverage details is the ability to read and understand insurance cards. Each card has a different format and design, and most lack proper emphasis on relevant information.
- The majority (56 percent) of insured Americans say they have a difficult time figuring out what their insurance will cover.
- Roughly half (48 percent) of insured Americans don’t think it’s easy to get answers or clarification from their insurance company.
- 29 percent of insured Americans have shown up to a doctor’s visit unaware of the co-pay and/or other costs they would incur, and 27 percent are unaware of what’s left on their deductible.
- Only a small fraction (8 percent) think their insurance card is intuitive, and roughly a quarter (27 percent) think their insurance card is well-designed.
- Those who feel their insurance cards are difficult to understand are less likely to feel confident they understand what their health insurance covers.**
Millennials Rank Last in Insurance Confidence
Younger generations expect consumer experiences to be seamless, modern and digital; notably, healthcare is out of step.
- Compared to other generations, millennials are the least confident, with 44 percent reporting they are not confident in understanding how insurance works.
- Two-thirds (66 percent) of millennials have a difficult time figuring out what their insurance will cover.
- Millennials are also more likely than other generations to have put off seeing a doctor because they didn’t understand their health insurance or couldn’t find their insurance card.
Higher Confidence Leads to Better Care
The critical information patients need to book appointments with the right doctor is difficult to access and can add unnecessary stress and cost to the process. These inefficiencies can result in fewer Americans getting the care they need and contribute to increased overcrowding in emergency rooms, causing patients to endure longer wait times.
- More than three-quarters (77 percent) of insured Americans would like an easier way to ensure their doctor is in-network when booking appointments.
- If unable to book an appointment with an in-network doctor, nearly a quarter (22 percent) of insured Americans would skip going to the doctor altogether and 17 percent would go to the emergency room.
- The majority (63 percent) of insured Americans said that if they had higher confidence in their insurance coverage, they would be less likely to avoid getting care.
On the heels of the Insurance Confidence survey, Zocdoc recently launched Insurance Checker – available now on the Zocdoc mobile app for iOS and Android, and mobile web – which scans a picture of a patient’s insurance card and uses artificial intelligence technology to help patients correctly select the right plan. Insurance Checker also helps to verify plan details and guide patients to in-network doctors. This helps boost a patient’s confidence that they aren’t making a costly, out-of-network appointment.
To learn more about the new Zocdoc Insurance Checker feature, visit the dedicated blog post here.
*of those who would find something frustrating about switching their insurance.
**compared to those who don’t find insurance cards hard to understand.
About the Survey
The Zocdoc Insurance Confidence Survey was conducted July 24 – July 31, 2017 by Kelton Global among 1,008 Americans ages 18-65 with health insurance, using an email invitation and an online survey. The margin of error is +/- 3.1% from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample. The margin of error for any subgroups will be slightly higher.
Zocdoc is the tech company at the beginning of a better healthcare experience. Each month, millions of patients use Zocdoc to find in-network neighborhood doctors, instantly book appointments online, see what other real patients have to say, get reminders for upcoming appointments and preventive check-ups, fill out their paperwork online, and more. With a mission to give power to the patient, Zocdoc’s online marketplace delivers the accessible, seamless and simple experience patients expect and deserve. Zocdoc is free for patients and available across the United States via Zocdoc.com or the Zocdoc app for iPhone and Android.