Health Insurance: How do you feel about yours?

According to a newsletter aimed at the insurance industry, 70% of comments made about health insurers on social media sites in the past year were negative. FierceHealthPayer reports:

It’s time to face the facts–the American public dislikes health insurance companies. And that’s putting it mildly, considering that 70 percent of all opinions and comments about insurers posted on social media sites in the last year were negative.

(Read more: Insurers should take to social media to combat negativity – FierceHealthPayer 

I can understand some of that negativity. This past summer brought major upheaval for me as I searched for affordable health insurance for our employees. I asked our insurance agent early on to get us quotes. I was appalled at what came back from the company who provides our plan. As a small group (only 8 members plus one spouse) we are subject to huge variations in cost and are very limited in benefit choices. Health insurance is our second largest expense.

I interviewed employee leasing companies and other groups that claim to make you part of a larger group so you can benefit from lower pricing structures. Unfortunately, none of them were able to save us enough money to justify the severe limitation in benefits or the cost of membership. We ultimately bought a plan that increases copays and deductibles, but maintains most of the benefits we had….we think. How the insurer will choose to interpret those benefits when one of us actually needs to take advantage of them remains to be seen.

My experience is no surprise. Employers across the nation were faced with a  9% average increase in family premiums in 2011 while many of us were presented double digit increases, in spite of the recession.

The article mentioned above suggests that insurers should get involved in social media to combat their negative perception by the public. They should

Create a social media policy and then get out into the social world and establish a strong, positive presence. Tweet some healthful recipes, post exercise tips on Facebook, make announcements on Google+.

Whatever your specific strategy, though, make sure you monitor all social media sites for comments made about your company and then contact the poster to try and resolve the problem. Even if you can’t fix the particular issue, say because someone is griping about the lack of universal health insurance, you’ll have made an effort to connect with the public, which over time just might change their perception of the industry. – Dina (@HealthPayer)

In other words, they should get their marketing people to work in the social media sphere. Don’t do anything real to correct the negative perceptions of the public, just do your best to appear to care and to look good. Don’t let anybody realize that one of the major reasons the cost of healthcare is so high in the U.S. is because of the part played by the cost of health insurance.

I was rather distressed by that recommendation. Don’t do anything real…just do your best to appear as if you care about these negative perceptions.

I wonder what your experience is with health insurers. Does your organization provide health insurance for your employees? Is everybody satisfied with their plan and the cost of it? Have you ever made a negative comment about your health insurance on Facebook or Twitter? Ever made a positive one?

Please share your comments below.

0 thoughts on “Health Insurance: How do you feel about yours?

  • Hi Kathy –
    My sympathies about SOS’ health care dilemma. My husband and I have the best health insurance we have had in years now that we are on classic Medicare and the best Medigap I could find. when we were stuck with the insurance his employer provided, I understood their trade-offs, but I was seriously unhappy with the level of benefits, and he worked for a very large firm. Of course I could have purchased care for us as a small business, but the cost was prohibitive, especially for something we already received, albeit in lesser quality.
    We have a friend here in Massachusetts who began a large clinic in the Northwest 30 years ago; it is modeled after Kaiser Permanente and limits access to care. He swears by the model because he says their medical providers are paid more by Medicare Advantage than by classic Medicare. I know that never was the case in mental health, but I wonder if it may be true on the medical side – anyone know? Regardless, I am not about to switch into any managed care plan as long as options exist. Any my doctors seems pleased to see us with my insurance choices, while big signs are posted that managed care is not accepted – Medicare Advantage included.
    This is the first time I have posted any opinions however, I guess I feared accusations of libel. I share your horror at the idea of insurance companies getting on social media to further advertise how ‘kind and considerate they are.
    Warmly – Ann Aukamp

    • I worry about all the folks on Medicare Advantage. That was one of the Bush-era gifts to the insurance industry. They get paid more for no better outcome…they just manage care and pocket the balance. Of course, I believe people don’t need to have Medigap insurance. That is why consumers love it so much. They are willing to have managed care and not to need to pay the co-insurance charges….until they get sick.

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