Survey: Large majority of consumers say they are prepared for open enrollment — but have done little actual research

The good news: More than three in four consumers with health benefits (78%) said they are prepared for the fall’s open enrollment season.

The puzzling news: They may not have spent much time reaching that conclusion.

Those are just two of the takeaways of the fifth annual UnitedHealthcare Consumer Sentiment Survey, which examines Americans’ attitudes and opinions about multiple areas of health care, including open enrollment preparedness, technology trends and health plan preferences.

The online survey of more 1,004 adults — 18 and older — was conducted Sept. 11-13.

And, though the respondents said they were ready for open enrollment, nearly one-quarter of respondents (23%) said they devote less than one hour each year to the process.

The highest time period was one to three hours — with approximately one in three (37%) choosing that option.

About one in four (23%) said they spend more than three hours.

What are they checking in their research? That’s more obvious:

  • Most (76%) respondents said they check if their doctors are in-network for the health plan they intend to select;
  • A large majority (84%) of respondents affirmed the importance of specialty benefits, agreeing that having vision and dental coverage options is “important” during open enrollment.

And, while nearly half of all participants (44%) said COVID-19 has influenced — or will influence — the health plan they intend to choose and the decision-making process for selecting benefits, there is good news for insurers.

For people with a health plan, two in three (68%) said they have been satisfied with their benefits during the pandemic.

For complete survey results, click here.

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