Most Americans believe shopping for health insurance is at least as unpleasant as dental surgery

For anyone who has played the popular party game, “Would You Rather,” laughter typically ensues as friends consider crazy, incongruous choices. It seems that for many Americans, having dental surgery would win over shopping for health insurance. Imagine that. Given that most Americans need to shop for and enroll in health insurance every single year, change is well overdue.

Taking the party game a little further, we might ask insurers: Would you rather fly or drown? In their recent survey report, Accenture splits insurers into two categories, digital transformers and digital followers. While this survey focused on life and property/casualty insurers, the results seem likely to hold true for health insurers as well. For the transformers, innovation is viewed as a major growth driver. What’s even more interesting is that respondents believe that existing insurers stand to gain more from innovation than new entrants. One in three respondents expect the innovators to increase market share by as much as 10 percentage points.

For many health insurers, a private exchange is at the heart of their innovation strategy. Enrollment through insurer-led private exchanges is expected to jump from about 6 million in 2015 to more than 40 million by 2018. From the employer point of view, most are positive about private exchanges and their potential for decreasing costs, simplifying the employer’s role in benefit administration, and providing employees with comparable, higher-quality coverage at a lower cost, according to Deloitte’s recent employer survey.
We believe that while it’s a time of fast and fundamental change, it’s also a time of unprecedented opportunity for insurers. With a modern e-commerce approach that enables innovation to serve consumer needs more fully, insurers who’d rather not be compared to dental surgery can go after new business and grow revenues – while engaging consumers in the type of shopping experience they would rather have.