Consumer trust in health insurers remains low for many insurance types, according to research from Accenture.

About 60% of Medicare Advantage members trusted their insurer, compared to only 45% with individual insurance and 37% with group insurance. The report said that this trust is largely based on how insurers handle personal data and provide personalized, digital experiences found in other industries.

The research determined a consumer’s trust based on two factors: healthcare decision making, how much one trusts their insurer to make good healthcare decisions, and healthcare coverage, how much a consumer trusts their insurer to cover and pay for health services. Based on those scores, the survey sorted people into distruster, neutral and truster groups.

The truster group had a lot of positives for health insurers. About 70% of trusters said they would definitely stay with their plan if offered the option to switch and 73% would recommend or promote their insurer.

Distrusters and neutrals fell much lower on both measures. Only 7% of distrusters, and 26% of neutrals, would definitely stay with their insurer. These groups were also much less likely to promote or recommend their insurer, 95% of distrusters and 36% of neutrals were “detractors” of their insurance.

The report highlights the importance of earning that trust. It particularly notes the large jump in retention and promotion from neutral to truster. For example, only 9% of neutral respondents would recommend or promote their insurer, but if these companies can earn their trust, that recommendation jumps to 73%. 

It also lays out some tactics to improve trust, including providing consistency across experiences and responses, listening to consumer feedback, answering questions and concerns correctly the first time and providing clear responses about payments. The research found that only 3% of distrusters said their insurer provides these four things.

Winning over the neutral group is the most valuable step for health insurers. It is much larger than the distruster group, making up 34% of Medicare Advantage members, 45% of consumers with individual insurance and 51% of group insurance members.

This research surveyed more than 23,000 consumers about their insurance. It was conducted between February and May 2019.