Data Shows the Affordable Care Act Is Changing Shopping Behavior for Doctors
June 23, 2014 – LYNDHURST, NJ – Big changes in the health care system are forcing more Americans than ever to be sensitive to choosing a doctor based on insurance.
According to new data released from the Vitals Index, more than four times the number of people are basing their doctor decision on insurance this year compared to last. Vitals, a leader in providing online transparency tools and data that help consumers find top doctors and make informed decisions about their medical care, allows people to narrow down a list of doctors based on several personal preferences, including vicinity, gender, languages spoken and insurance type.
A spike in searches with optimized insurance filters began in October 2013, coinciding with open enrollment period for health plans, but the surge continued through the end of March 2014, the deadline for the Affordable Care Act.
Under the ACA, millions of Americans obtained insurance and were able to choose a primary care physician for the first time. The law, however, forced another 2.6 million people to change their health plans, since their old plans didn’t meet the minimum requirements of the new law.
The beginning of the year is a popular time for people to make appointments with their doctor, but Vitals data revealed that compared to January 2013, the number of people searching via an insurance filter this January increased 1034 percent. The use of Vitals’ insurance filters remains four times higher this year, compared to last year.
“The changes happening in health care are affecting the shopping behaviors of consumers,” said Mitch Rothschild, CEO of Vitals. “Because of high deductible plans and people paying more for each doctor visit, there’s an increased focus on not only finding quality doctors, but doctors who are in-network.”
Sites like Vitals make it easy for people to evaluate their doctor choices. Vitals’ filters allow a consumer to narrow in on personal preferences and then view quality measures, like education, hospital affiliations and even patient feedback.
“None of us like having to go to the doctor,” said Rothschild. “But when we trust our physician and we receive quality care at a price we can afford, we’re more likely to make regular appointments and stick to prescribed regimes.
Vitals is reinventing the way people chose doctors and medical facilities. We provide increased transparency to cost, quality and access information to support effective decision making. Vitals brings together actionable data, online tools and an engaging consumer experience that empowers consumers to make more informed, higher-quality and lower-cost health care decisions. Through health plans, hospitals and our leading consumer websites, Vitals helps more than 150 million people each year access information for better, more affordable care. The Vitals Index is an ongoing report about the state of doctor-patient relationships based on proprietary data and surveys.