Consumer Recovery Report: Health consumers report changing behaviors

Consumer Recovery Report: Health consumers report changing behaviors
May 18, 2021

In the latest version of our COVID-19 Monitor Survey, U.S. health consumers report how the pandemic is likely to impact their future behaviors.

Editor’s Note (5/18/2021): This article includes findings from ICF’s eleventh wave of data collection that was fielded April 15 – 22. This wave collected 1,000 completes using a census-balanced, national non-probability sample. The new information, shared below, examines the impact of COVID-19 on the American public as well as their attitudes toward slowing the spread of COVID-19 and their current and anticipated future consumer behaviors. Learn more about the ICF COVID-19 Monitor Survey of U.S. Adults.

As part of our COVID-19 Monitor Survey, ICF Next surveyed U.S. consumers on a series of questions regarding their healthcare choices and behaviors before and during the pandemic—as well as some behaviors they anticipate engaging in once the pandemic is over. Our survey revealed a number of insights of interest to the healthcare industry.

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Telehealth usage surges during the pandemic but seems likely to stagnate or decline post-pandemic.

Consumers quickly adopted telehealth solutions during the pandemic, with use nearly doubling from pre-pandemic levels. This is not particularly surprising given social distancing guidelines, provider closures for non-essential health needs, and the now-widespread availability of these tools and platforms. While these products are clearly here to stay, our survey reveals that growth will likely slow in the post-pandemic years to come. Almost 60% of respondents expect to use telehealth or digital health tools “about the same” amount as today, and only 17% expect to use them more while close to 23% expect to use them less. Net-net, the pandemic spurred huge growth for telehealth solutions that is here to stay, but based on consumer sentiment, it seems unlikely that this growth will continue at current rates.

Few consumers changed their health insurance coverage in 2021, and many seem inclined to keep their current coverage post-pandemic.

Given the health challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis, it is not surprising that consumers overwhelmingly chose to not make changes to their health plans when enrolling for 2021 coverage. However, while many in the industry believed that once the public health crisis subsides, consumers would be more willing to explore new health plan options, a surprising result of our survey was that over 35% of consumers reported that they are less likely to explore new health plan options post-pandemic, with only 16% reporting that they are more likely to explore new health plan options.

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Watch this space

How will American consumers’ feelings and behaviors change as the summer begins and the national vaccination campaign winds down? We will report key findings from our data collection efforts over the coming months and share this information.
Meet the authors
  1. John Boyle, Senior Advisor, Survey Research

    John is a research expert with more than 30 years of experience in the design, execution, analysis, and reporting of large-scale health surveys. View bio

  2. James “Jamie” Dayton, Senior Vice President, Survey Research

    Jamie is a survey research expert with over 35 years of experience in strategy and implementation in the health, environment, and transportation industries. View bio

  3. Rachel Kinder