Consumers skeptical of Berkshire-Amazon-JPMorgan, single-payer

Despite increasing premiums and an unstable marketplace, most healthcare consumers don't want any drastic changes to the insurance industry, at least not yet.

Most healthcare consumers are skeptical about possible changes to the health insurance industry, including single-payer models and innovative partnerships, according to a survey by HealthEdge that included more than 2,500 health insurance subscribers.

Consumers overwhelmingly said they hold more trust in the current insurance market (69%) over possible government-sponsored care (19%) or partnerships led by retailers like Amazon, Walmart or CVS (12%).

A lack of enthusiasm for ventures like Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan could be due to a lack of information available on the project, Harry Merkin, a vice president at HealthEdge, told FierceHealthcare. 

"They still haven't even named a CEO, and all that's out there is nothing but rumors and skepticism from healthcare executives," he said, adding public opinion could change as more details are released.

About 40% of consumers said more incentives for healthy behaviors and better tools to find less costly services would improve member satisfaction, issues that organizations leading recent megamergers and partnerships said they are focusing on. Consumers offered tepid confidence in their plan's ability to communicate digitally, with phones and mobile apps ranking low on the list of effective pathways. 

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"If these companies put out good information and focus remember satisfaction, especially for younger consumers, then established insurers could be left behind for these new programs," Merkin said. 

Despite low enthusiasm for government-sponsored healthcare, it's not all bad news for Medicare-for-all and Medicaid expansion advocates.

Among survey respondents, Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries rated their health plan satisfaction higher than any other group. 

"These are the neediest people who can't imagine a different plan," Merkin said. "It's a combination of them liking the benefits and the reliance they have on these programs. They don't see an alternative."