Cigna Survey: Women Confident Now, Yet Worried about Future Health Concerns

Women are confident in their ability to choose the right health plan, but they’re fearful about their future needs, according to a new national survey from Cigna.

Affording healthcare coverage within their household budget, caring for elderly parents and not having enough coverage are the three top concerns for women, according to the research, “Health and Well-being: Attitudes and Behaviors of Women.” Surveying a national sample of women, most with existing healthcare coverage, respondents confirmed that regardless of where they live or who their insurer is, women are the household chief financial officer (CFO) and chief medical officer (CMO). The financing of healthcare and family healthcare decisions fall mainly to them, with 59 percent saying they help their partners while only 5 percent say their partners help them.

While about half of respondents say that healthcare coverage is within their means, 23 percent say healthcare affordability is a stretch, and 30 percent say it is too high as a portion of the household budget. Thirty-three percent say their healthcare coverage costs about as much as a car payment and another 32 percent say healthcare coverage costs about as much as their internet, TV and phone bills. The one item that women are united on: 83 percent believe future healthcare costs will rise at a faster pace than their income.

Steps women are taking to manage costs include using lower cost prescriptions (94 percent) or monitoring their out-of-pocket costs for healthcare (73 percent). Other strategies, such as using a health savings account (36 percent) or negotiating directly with doctors and other healthcare professionals (25 percent), are not as common.

Other key findings from the survey include the following:

  • About 62 percent of women worry that health costs will drain family resources;
  • Sixty-five percent would buy more healthcare insurance if they could afford it;
  • Only one in 10 women say they have a good understanding of reform, and four in 10 say they have no idea about reform.
  • Fifty-four percent of women think healthcare is affordable.
  • Eighty-three percent would welcome help in managing costs and issues with medical professionals

The Cigna survey found no significant differences by age or ethnicity, or in regions of the country regarding women’s views on affordability. Women in southern California were slightly less concerned about affordability and women in Florida and Texas were slightly more concerned.

Researchers also found that men are turning to multiple sources for help with their health and health plans, including online resources. At Cigna, on average, 40,500 customers visit every day. Last quarter, Cigna customers conducted 3.1 million searches to look up family doctors, specialists, hospitals and specific procedures, as well as other healthcare professionals and facilities, and review cost and quality information. Of those, nearly one-third clicked through for more detailed itemized cost information to review and compare how much they will pay for treatment.

For more information and to view the full survey results, click here.

Source: Cigna, October 9, 2013

Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2014: A Strategic Planning Session, a 60 minute-webinar on October 30, 2013 webinar at 1:30 pm Eastern will provide a roadmap to the key issues, challenges and opportunities for healthcare providers and payors in 2014. This 10th annual, must-attend event will highlight the strategic importance of health insurance exchanges for health plans and providers even if they’re not participating in the initial enrollment period, among other key issues.

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