Preference For Cost Over Choice Highlights Need For Consumer Education

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Despite efforts to establish quality metrics for health care and empowering health care consumers to choose elements of their own coverage, recent findings still show that people shop primarily around cost. This is according to an analysis by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), covered in a recent article in the New York Times.

According to the HHS analysis of buying trends in the public health insurance marketplace, two-thirds of people went for the lowest- or second-lowest-priced plans for the plan year 2015. For the plan year 2016, approximately half of people chose the cheapest plans.

According to health economist Austin Frakt in a different article from the New York Times, choosing a health plan based on premium price alone may be problematic because it leaves out other aspects of choosing care, such as the cost of the deductible. Other aspects of care, such as quality of care and number of doctors in the area, are also left out when only cost is considered.

This is where employers can step in. With clear and regular communication, and simple benefit tools, employees can make the the best health care decisions possible given their health status and budgets.

To read the entire article in the New York Times, click here.

[Photo Credit: Colin Dunn on Flickr via Creative Commons 2.0]

Willis Towers Watson is a leading global professional services company and operator of the nation's largest private Medicare exchange. Willis Towers Watson OneExchange is the industry’s only holistic private exchange solution, offering exchange options for U.S. employers and their active, part-time and retired workers.