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Employees now moving toward most affordable health insurance options

Health Care and Health Insurance
by Finn Knox-Seith
Some consumers still struggle to understand health insurance
Some consumers still struggle to understand health insurance

The economy has certainly helped to shape many consumers' attitudes toward insurance coverage of all kinds. Many are now looking for cut-rate deals on life insurance, or discontinuing it altogether, and likewise now trying to find the most affordable healthcare coverage available to them.

The majority of workers in New York and New Jersey who had access to as many as 10 types of health plans and other supplemental coverage through a private insurance exchange generally opted to take on the health plans with the lowest total costs, somewhat irrespective of their own personal needs, according to a new survey from the Liazon Corporation. In addition, slightly more than half chose to purchase plans that qualified for health savings accounts, and that was well above recent national averages of about 19 percent.

However, while employees generally skimped on their primary health insurance coverage, they were certainly more than willing to take on other types of plans in addition to the basic options, as more than nine out of 10 did so, the report said. Among those most popular with these workers were dental and life insurance coverage, purchased by 72 and 71 percent, respectively. More than half also purchased long-term disability insurance, and 45 percent bought vision coverage as well. Health coaching and even pet insurance were purchased by as many as 10 percent of workers.

Alan Cohen, the chief strategy officer for Liazon who co-authored the study, noted that these findings show that employees are willing to pay for ancillary products that meet their needs rather than dealing with potentially lower co-pays and deductibles for basic health treatment, but this may be a result of efforts to better understand their choices, the report said. In many cases, companies offering consumers a number of health insurance options may take the time to further educate them about their potential choices. Comparing and contrasting these theoretically allows consumers to find the best options available to them.

These results show that insurance companies may want to do more to present consumers a wide range of options, particularly as the individual coverage mandate deadline approaches. Many may go looking for more affordable deals on the private market as a means of keeping their costs down, particularly those who are currently young and healthy and feel as though they will have few such concerns.

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