CHRT report: Cost drives consumers purchasing coverage on individual Health Insurance Marketplace

May 19, 2015  //  FOUND IN: Announcements,

A report released by the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation (CHRT) shows that individuals selecting health coverage in Michigan are making their buying decision based on costs more than choice of physicians and network size.

The report, “Health Plan Selection: Factors Influencing Michiganders’ Choice of Health Insurance,” shows that consumers purchasing individual health insurance coverage were more than twice as likely to report that premium cost was very important in selecting a health plan as they were to report that the number of in-network physicians was a very important factor in their decision.

The brief is based on data from CHRT’s 2014 Cover Michigan Survey of Michigan adults, fielded between September and November 2014. Those who purchased individual coverage on or off the marketplace are included in this analysis.

“We have known from consumer behavior that cost is very important, particularly when consumers are choosing and paying for health plans themselves. But, this study tells us more clearly just how much more important cost is in today’s marketplace than network size,” says Marianne Udow-Phillips, CHRT’s director.

Highlights of the report include:

  • 92 percent of respondents with individually purchased insurance reported that at least one cost measure (premium, deductible, co-pay or co-insurance) had been a very important factor in their selection of a health plan.
  • 41 percent of those with individually purchased health insurance—less than those with employer-sponsored insurance (50 percent)—noted that the physician network was a very important factor in their decision-making.
  • Nearly 20 percent of those with individual coverage changed primary care physicians as a result of their choice of plans.

In 2014, the first open enrollment for individual coverage, more than 272,000 Michigan residents enrolled in individual health coverage, choosing from 60 non-catastrophic plans. In most cases, consumers had a wide choice of plans representing different provider networks and levels of cost sharing.

“The fact that consumers in the individual marketplace are willing to change their primary care physician relationship based on price and select a health plan with a narrow provider network with lower costs is significant,” says Udow-Phillips. “Providers of care will want to pay close attention to these results as they think about which health plan products to participate in.”

Read the full report at