As a country, we spend more than twice what other developed nations do on health care. Our health care costs per person top more than $8,700 on average…but health insurance remains a big stumbling block for us.
Clark himself has very strident ideas about what to do with health care in the United States.
If you’re in the open market shopping for health insurance, you know the process can be complicated.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could cut through the clutter with a list of the best health insurers?
Read more: Health insurance guide
Top health insurers in new brand equity rankings
The 2016 Harris Poll EquiTrend study has just come out with new insights into the health insurers with the most brand equity:
At the top of the list is Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which has been named Health Insurance Brand of the Year by Harris Poll for 2016.
After BCBS, you have UnitedHealthcare, Kaiser Permanente and WellPoint/Anthem.
Other health insurance brands in the study ranked below category average, including Aetna, Amerigroup, Cigna, Coventry Health Care, Health Net and Humana (listed alphabetically).
The Harris Poll asked more than 97,000 of us about 3,800 brands in 500 categories. Rankings were then based on three factors: familiarity, quality and purchase consideration.
Things to remember the next time we’re in open enrollment
Pay attention to the color codes
Most individuals buying their own coverage by color codes wind up buying silver on the health care exchanges. But there’s an odd thing going on. The silver plan you have may impose big increases for 2017.
If you will go and shop either on your state’s health care exchange or off it, you may find another silver plan for next year that’s less than what you pay now. But by just doing a renewal and continuing to do what you’re doing, you will cost yourself money.
The most important caveat when you’re shopping is pay close attention to the doctors who you are allowed to see. Ditto with the facilities. You want to be sure you have access to what you want at the lowest premium possible.
Small businesses need to shop around
For small businesses, there are huge differences in the cost of similar coverage from one carrier to another. If you use a health insurance broker, you need to shop that coverage. The cost of small employer health coverage in most of the country is going down, not up.
Your out of pocket is likely to go up
Employers are benefiting from the fact that medical cost inflation has moderated. Yet at the same time, they’re increasing the amount of out of pocket you pay. So you need to be aware and be prepared to budget for it. In fact, the average employee deductible has increased 50% over a recent five-year period, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Yet employers are not the bad guy. As a practical matter, they don’t have to provide health care; it would be cheaper for them to pay the fines under the Affordable Care Act for not doing so. They choose to provide health care benefits to attract a strong talent pool. At many employers, there will be only high deductible plans when you go to renew.