Do You Really Like Your Health Insurance?
Whenever a poll is taken and people say they like or are satisfied with their health insurance, wouldn’t you like to know exactly what they like about it? According to a Rasmussen Reports poll from August 3rd, 80 percent of those surveyed rated their health insurance coverage as good or excellent. That’s up from 70 percent in May. But we still don’t know why they are so satisfied.
Do they like the affordable premiums or the wide spectrum of coverage? Does their health insurance plan allow them to seek alternative therapies? Are they enamored with their health insurance plan because they truly believe there is nothing better out there for them or their family?
Or do people simply respond “yes” to the question “Do you like your current health insurance plan?” because they don’t want to change. This is a common phenomenon. Resistance is an inevitable response to any major change, and health insurance reform certainly fits the bill. According to organizational change experts Folger and Skarlicki, “organizational change can generate skepticism and resistance in employees [you can substitute health-care consumers], making it sometimes difficult or impossible to implement organizational improvements.”
There is a concept called the rationale for resistance, and it includes a list of how people justify their actions to themselves and to others. Let’s assume people are answering “yes” to the health insurance question because they are resisting change. If we apply the rational for resistance to health insurance, people want to stay where they are because:
* Their current health insurance plan meets their needs, and so they do not feel threatened. People who believe their comfort and security are threatened will seek change, not those who feel safe. This does not mean people have carefully thought this out. People who have employer-provided health insurance could lose their jobs and their insurance tomorrow. People could also contract a serious condition that quickly maxes out their coverage. Or others could discover that they are among the 29 percent of people with health insurance who are underinsured. Unfortunately they discover this when their policy is put to the test.
* There is nothing attractive being offered. According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released on August 5, 44 percent of those surveyed say they will not benefit personally from the proposed health reform. If people believe they have nothing to gain, why would they want to change?
* People do not trust the individuals in charge of making the changes to health insurance reform. An August 7 Rasmussen Reports poll shows that 56 percent of voters say Congress is doing a poor job, and 39 percent believe most members of Congress are corrupt.
* People believe they have the power to obstruct change. Just look at the protests taking place at town hall meetings around the country. Citizens are exercising their right to question and resist changes to their health insurance, whether you agree with their tactics or not.
Therefore, when people are asked, “Do you really like your health insurance?” perhaps they need to consider whether they have objectively evaluated their plan and can truthfully say they are satisfied, or whether they are resisting change. Not that there is anything wrong with resisting change, if resistance comes after careful analysis.
Folger R and Skarlicki D. Unfairness and resistance to change: hardship as mistreatment. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 35-50.
Rasmussen Reports poll 8/3/09
Washington Post 8/11/09