At GetInsured we always talk about the healthcare consumer. We channel this consumer when we build and test our products. We listen to this consumer when they have used our platform and incorporate their feedback to make the user experience even better. We anticipate the needs of this consumer before they even realize they need something. While our customers are health insurers, the people who use our private exchange software are regular consumers – people like you and me – and that’s why we have to be obsessed with them– in a good way that is.

We know that shopping for healthcare is different than buying a pair of shoes on Zappos or an airplane ticket on, but we firmly believe it shouldn’t be that different. Don’t we all want to have an easy, straightforward and–dare we say–fun experience when buying things online, regardless of what we are purchasing?

While lots of studies and surveys have been conducted on healthcare consumerism, we were really excited to come across this recent article by McKinsey & Company, “Debunking Common Myths about Healthcare Consumerism.” They have been studying healthcare consumerism for the past eight years, and this year alone, surveyed more than 11,000 people across the country about how they perceive their healthcare needs and wants, how they select providers, and how they make other healthcare decisions.

You should read the article — it only takes 12 minutes, according to a little orange bar at the top of the article. But if you don’t have 12 minutes to spare (it’s tough this time of year), read the cliff notes below.

The article lays out eight common myths about healthcare consumerism. Two of them really stuck out for us.

Myth #1: Healthcare is different from other industries. Consumers don’t bring the same expectations about customer experience to healthcare that they bring to retail or technology companies.
McKinsey concluded that consumers want the same qualities in health care companies that they value in non-healthcare settings. When survey participants were asked to identify non-healthcare companies with the strongest consumer focus, Apple and Amazon led the list.  The graph below compares survey participants’ answers as to what qualities consumers value in healthcare and non-healthcare companies. We were pleased to see that they are remarkably similar!
Qualities consumers value in companies provided by McKinsey & Company data for Array Health
Myth #4: Now that consumers are paying more for their healthcare, premium price is the only truly important factor in purchase decisions.
Yes, price matters. The McKinsey data, however, revealed that there are many other important factors, such as provider choice and voluntary benefits. When the McKinsey team of researchers conducted a private exchange simulation with individuals covered by employer-sponsored insurance, the participants spent on average 40 percent above the employer contribution level to obtain voluntary benefits such as vision, life, and critical illness insurance.  What is more, many of the private exchange simulation participants were willing to trade down on medical benefits so that they could trade up on ancillary benefits.

In private exchange simulations, consumers showed a willingness to trade medical for ancillary benefits.

Want to see what the other six common myths are? The full article is available here.