Poll: Slight majority of exchange consumers won't return for second enrollment


A slight majority (51 percent) of consumers who enrolled in plans sold on the federal health insurance exchange last year said they won't be signing up again on Healthcare.gov, according to a new Bankrate Health Insurance Pulse survey.

Consumers said they won't be returning to the federal marketplace primarily because they're concerned about prices and potential technical glitches that may occur during the second enrollment period.

But most industry experts don't believe these worries will come to fruition. "That is just absolutely, certainly not going to be true," Mark Schlesinger, a professor at the Yale School of Public Health, told Bankrate. "A lot of people who may be worried about … the exchanges will be surprised and happy because we know there's not going to be much movement on price. In some places, it's actually going down a little."

Based on their concerns, many consumers will likely choose to be automatically re-enrolled in their existing exchange plans, as FierceHealthPayer previously reported. "With 43 percent saying their experience last time was somewhat or very bad, they're not looking forward to doing it again. That in itself will encourage people to just go with auto-renew," Doug Hough, associate director of the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, told Bankrate. "I predict we'll see lots and lots and lots of auto-renewals."

And given that 43 percent of previous exchange users said they're biggest fear is that premiums will be "much higher" this time around, insurers could benefit from educating the public about their rates. To help prevent--or at least offset--members' price concerns, insurers can help enrollees select the best plan option for their situation and train their employees to understand enrollees' perspectives, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

To learn more:
- here's the Bankrate survey

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