Winter 2010: The Online Market for Health Insurance in Massachusetts and the US
Download the Winter 2010 Report: Here
This is our third quarterly online insurance index from All Web Leads and our first to focus exclusively on the health insurance market. With the ongoing debate in Congress on health insurance reform, we can begin to identify future trends and assess their impact on insurance agents, brokers, and carriers.
Massachusetts as a Bellwether
As the only state with a requirement for mandatory coverage, Massachusetts is a bellwether for the nation. Not surprisingly, taking into account total state population, we find that Massachusetts tops the list of states with residents shopping for health insurance over the web. A universal mandate has its expected results -- people who don't have insurance go out and buy it.
But age is also a factor. There is little change among people aged 18 -- 34. The real effects of a universal health care mandate begin when people enter their prime working years. The gap between Massachusetts residents and those in the rest of the country grows almost fourteen-fold -- from 2% for people aged 35 - 44 to 27% for people over age 64.
Overall, online consumers are largely uninsured and healthy -- 71% are uninsured and only 10% have a preexisting condition. A sizable group, 16%, is self-employed. However, there are important differences between men and women and among people of different age groups.
Advice for Producers
Thus producers will find that online health insurance leads are a promising source for new business, one that will undoubtedly grow with the advent of universal health insurance. But market dynamics will also change.
In an online world, ongoing relationships often matter more than transactions. Top producers will have a good understanding of their customers and prospects, and know how best to communicate with them, and build an environment where doing business with customers is very very easy.