Gaps exist between what customers expect and understand from their health insurance policy and what the Consumer Protection Code 2012 legislation requires them to understand. The following dissertation review seeks to identify: the main problem(s) preventing customers from clearly understanding their health insurance policy, to provide a closer inspection of other factors in the insurance market from a consumer’s perspective, to develop a review of consumer’s attitudes to health insurance, to establishing whether the consumer protection code is widely recognised, to determining whether the consumer knows how/where to complain to if they are unhappy with their health insurance policy , to identify the key trends amongst consumers and forthcoming trends
Following the anonymous and confidential completion of 153 questionnaires, the research has proven that typically consumers do not have a clear understanding of their health insurance policy. The overall factor for having a health insurance was due to fear of the public system, supported by the fact they can afford to have the policy. The perceived value of healthcare, despite the impact on personal finances, appears to be the most common theme in identifying why the consumer has health insurance. However in the current prolonged period of austerity where, as identified by the research, households have had to make large financial savings there are growing numbers of people cancelling their health insurance policy because it is no longer affordable. Despite the reduction in consumers disposable income, the overall consensus is health insurance is a priority and policies would only be canceled as the result of considerable financial changes with a person’s circumstances.
As a result of these findings, the objectives set out by the researcher has recommendations for the consumer, the health insurance provider and for health care providers. Author keywords: Healthcare, insurance, VHI , consumer protection code, policy