Over the past month, many health insurance providers have announced plans to waive up-front costs for COVID-19 screening and testing, improve access to care, and push for special healthcare enrollment periods. All of these actions are being taken to alleviate the concerns of Americans with one thing on their minds: staying healthy.
Given that the response to COVID-19 and the resources available have varied on a state-by-state basis, many are looking to their health insurance providers for clarity.
Using Alpha’s rapid consumer feedback platform, we surveyed more than 550 millennials in the United States (ages 23-40) who currently have health insurance to understand what role they’d like their health insurance providers to play during COVID-19 and what opportunities exist for providers to step up during the pandemic.
Some key findings:
- Obviously, staying healthy is a huge concern for Millennials during the pandemic, though the degree to which they are worried about their health varies. 66% of participants report being worried or “extremely worried” about their health, while 11% are not worried or “not at all worried.” Those who more frequently report being “extremely worried” about their health include older millennials (35%) — defined as those 35 and older — and individuals with children in their house under age 18 (39%).
- Not surprisingly, understanding the effect that COVID-19 has had and will continue to have on their health insurance is foremost in many people’s thoughts. 36% of participants said they’re thinking “much more” about health insurance during this crisis. Those with potentially less straightforward health policies or plans more frequently report thinking more about their insurance, such as those children in their household (42%) — compared to those without (30%).
- For many participants, they’re concerned primarily about financial and preventative care implications, including reporting being “extremely concerned” whether their health insurance premiums will increase (29%) or if COVID-19 testing is covered by their insurance (33%).
- This presents a major opportunity for health insurance providers to actively educate about COVID-19, screening and testing costs, or perhaps even virtual care opportunities. The good news: 50% of participants said they have received COVID-19 related information and resources from their providers since the outbreak. Many describe the communication as extremely trustworthy (38%), informative (36%), helpful (31%), and authentic (29%). Clearly, many people look to their health insurance providers as sources of support and reliable, truthful information during the crisis, at a time when they may not feel they’re getting the same from the media.
- A majority of participants (69%) said communication comes in the form of emails from their providers, which matches their expectations, since 70% said they’d prefer to be contacted via email. Interestingly, only 23%, 20%, and 18% received updates via texts, the insurance provider’s app, or social media, respectively. Given that millennials favor digital communication more than older generations, there’s an opportunity for healthcare providers to connect with them online.
- 47% of participants indicated they were “very interested” or “extremely interested” in receiving COVID-19 information from their healthcare providers. Some noteworthy topics they want to hear about include specific updates on the pandemic in their area (62%), resources for staying healthy (58%), updates on cost related to COVID-19 care (56%), and guidance for how to receive virtual care (52%).