Americans Often Willing to Trade Broad Provider Access for Lower Health Insurance Costs

November 18, 2014

In-Network Only and Referral-Based Plan Types Resonate With Employees Provided With Choice

BUFFALO, NY (November 18, 2014) – When it comes to making insurance choices, consumers are open to restrictions in provider access in exchange for lower premiums.  As detailed in “Medical Plan Preferences in an Environment of Choice,” a new white paper by Liazon, operator of the industry-leading private benefits exchange for businesses, this finding provides insights into the preferences of employees who participate in private health care exchanges. It also confirms that employees are willing to use in-network providers and referral-based medical plans when provided with a robust choice of plan designs.

According to the paper, nearly 90% of employees surveyed would consider a less expensive plan that allowed access to only in-network doctors and facilities or required referrals from a gatekeeper, or both. Given the two options, the analysis found that employees gravitate more towards the in-network provider plans, with 83% of employees open to this option. This mindset appears to translate to actual plan choice, as previous data reported by Liazon found that the majority of employees actually chose an HMO plan with multiple restrictions — including in-network only coverage, a narrow limited network, and referral requirements.

“We’ve found that with a range of plan choices, employees are willing to explore various types of plans, especially those that provide substantial cost savings,” said Alan Cohen, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Liazon. “Whereas employers might have previously pushed employees towards these types of plans, we now see employees choosing these options on their own.”

The preferences were gleaned from tens of thousands of employees who use Liazon’s flagship Bright Choices® Exchange and other Liazon-powered exchanges to choose their benefits. The white paper draws from data extracted in 2013 from employees going through the benefits selection process, giving Liazon exclusive insight into what factors they consider in choosing their benefits.

“The proliferation of these types of plans supports the evolution of the newly ‘consumerized’ health care industry,” added Cohen. “When people have the power of choice, in an environment of cost transparency, they evaluate what they are getting for their money and make decisions based on trade-offs just as they do for other purchases.” As consumers continue to become more involved in their own health care choices, these valuable insights into consumer preferences will help employers understand the need for a variety of plan types for their employee population.

Download Liazon’s white paper here.

About Liazon
Founded in 2007, Liazon Corporation operates the industry-leading private benefits exchange for businesses. Its flagship product, the Bright Choices® Exchange, is an online benefits store that is changing the way employers and employees buy benefits. Bright Choices helps employers manage their health care costs by setting predictable budgets through a defined contribution funding strategy while guiding employees to purchase better coverage of health, dental, vision, life, disability and other benefits. Advanced cloud computing infrastructure and robust security protection ensures continual access and safeguards confidentiality of data transmission. Liazon works with top national and regional insurance providers and supports businesses nationwide through a distribution network of leading broker partners. Liazon was acquired by Towers Watson, a leading global professional services company, in November 2013. To learn more about Liazon and the Bright Choices Exchange, go to