Most Marketplace Users Plan to Switch Plans in 2015

A new survey shows most Americans who use the government's health insurance marketplaces will seek a different insurer next year, even though most are satisfied with their current plans.

A new survey shows most Americans who use the government’s health insurance marketplaces will seek a different insurer next year.

That finding comes despite the fact that most marketplace consumers say they are satisfied with their current plan.

The research firm Radius Global Market Research found about two-thirds of Americans who used the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) marketplaces plan to change plans once open enrollment starts.

“Consumers feel that there are opportunities to get more value from the current health insurance market,” said Kathleen Relias, senior vice president of Radius, and the head of its healthcare practice, in a press release.

Consumers said the most important factors in their search will be cost and access to physicians. Radius found most consumers expect their premiums to rise in the next 6 months. More than one-third of those surveyed reported switching physicians as a result of their plan’s provider network. Roughly one-quarter of participants said they don’t visit the doctor as often under their new plans, or experience longer wait times when they do.

“Overall satisfaction was stronger among those enrollees who reported receiving adequate explanation of ACA coverage,” Relias said.

However, she noted, “Only 44% of Americans feel they are well informed.”

That finding fits with a January poll by Enroll America, which found knowledge gaps among marketplace consumers. For instance, 69% of consumers using HealthCare.gov didn’t know subsidies were available to help pay for new insurance plans. That same survey found 81% of respondents didn’t know when the enrollment deadline was.

For the record, the 2015 enrollment deadline is Feb. 15, 2015.

As consumers search for a better deal in 2015, Relias said insurers need to plan ahead if they want to avoid “significant customer churn.”

“Plans would also benefit from boosting efforts to educate their consumers about the Affordable Care Act,” she said.