Doctors, Insurers and Trust

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Via, I ran across an interesting article

on “Why Doctors Don’t Trust Insurers”. According to a (U.S.) survey by ReviveHealth Payor Trust Index, no insurer scored higher than 60 points out of 100 [1], with the average being 58.

What are the reasons for this low trust? According to the study, the main ones are

  • Coverage doesn’t allow to offer the very best care
  • Insurers don’t honor commitments
  • Inaccurate advertising
  • Taking advantage of doctors

As regular readers of this blog know, I’ve been researching trust in insurers for quite a while. Trust in the industry per se has been consistently below 50% (globally) in every study since 2007. In “Capturing hearts, minds and market share” we looked at specific insurer trust for the first time. How does this compare? Our responses were on a scale from 1-6, and in the report, we define people who trust their insurer as all responses with a 5 or 6 – adding up to 37%. But there are many people who are trust neutral, i.e. slighty positive (4) or slightly negative (3). If we add all the fours, we get 61% – quite close to the number in the doctor’s study.[2][3]


The reasons doctors name for the low trust seem far removed from the ones our consumers named for switching insurers – changing needs, bad service, agents advice etc, but then we are comparing apples to oranges here. Insurers certainly will have to work on reasons numbers 2-4, which strongly deal with perceptions, whether they correspond with reality or not. The one reason that is not likely to change is #1. Why? Well, the U.S. already has by far the most expensive health care system in the world, at best middling quality. If that is even without providing “the very best care”. It would seem that the priorities should be cost and efficiency first to make the system stable in the long run…


[1] The points were generated from a combined score, comprised of  behavioral reliability, fairness and honesty.

[2] For the U.S., these numbers were 44% resp. 66%.

[3] Capturing hearts… looked at all lines, not only health.

Insurance Leader, IBM Institute for Business Value

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