It may seem like common sense to purchase a health coverage online through a website. However, while we may seem like an “online nation”, there are many people, believe it or not, who do not have regular access to the Internet. Some individuals still make the call to an agent in order to obtain health insurance coverage. However, personal insurance purchases on the web are starting to become much more common according to a publication on Government Health IT entitled “Study: Consumers shift to online health plan enrollment.” In fact, many recent studies conducted by some of the top research and analysis firms are showing a major shift in this trend.
There are many websites available that offer health insurance quotes and online insurance enrollment. Many studies have been conducted in the last couple of years to see just how people are obtaining health coverage. To much surprise, the findings show a twenty-three percent increase in the amount of people purchasing health insurance online, without an agent, as opposed to over the phone through a health insurance professional. This is large increase, showing that, not only are people becoming more savvy about technology, but that they are more educated about their health plan options. It appears that either people do not have as many questions about health coverage or that websites have become more informative and are able to answer the questions that consumers have about health plans. If this trend continues, many health insurance agents may struggle to survive in the business. Especially considering that, because of the new “Obama-care” health care reform, many insurance carriers have lowered agent commissions. This has already lowered the number of active health insurance professionals.
Does this mean that health plans will become less expensive? Well, that remains to be seen. We must take into consideration that one of the changes that will happen because of health care reform is that insurance companies will no longer be able to decline coverage based on an individual’s health. This is good with respect to the fact that more people will be able to obtain health insurance, especially people who would normally be declined based on a pre-existing health condition (e.g. – Diabetes, Heart Attack, Cancer). However, this will cause more claims. Health insurance companies are in the business to make money. When there are more insurance claims then the insurance company has more cost per insured person, thus driving up insurance premiums. It seems that the US government has plans to help the tax-payer with the cost of health insurance through health care reform. But that remains to be seen as well.
With so many changes coming in the next few years, it is expected that more people will start making use of health insurance websites that offer educational information and the ability to purchase a health plan online. Thus, more and more people will use the Internet to purchase in the years to come.
I started in the insurance industry because, like everyone else that needs personal insurance, I had spent countless hours comparing rates and researching insurance companies to find the best insurance coverage at the lowest price. After repeating this process a few times over, I decided to take this knowledge, study for an insurance exam, pass a test and set a goal to supply other people with this information in a more timely manner.