Path to Obtaining Health Insurance Information from the Internet: A Preliminary Observational Study

Abstract

Search terms were formulated and executed on Google to retrieve health insurance information. Search results were then examined to identify those web sites that were health plan web sites, "quote" web sites, "list" web sites (list of quote web sites or health plan web sites), or "other." 46 search sets yielded 19,578,694 hits. However, only the first 100 hits from each set were included in the final analysis (3,955 sites). Among those, 834 (21.1%) were health plan web sites, 275 (7.0%) were "quote" web sites, and 251 (6.4%) were "list" web sites, while 2,595 (65.6%) were "other" web sites. Background Consumers very often need to look for health plans when they experience life changes. In advising consumers on how to select and purchase the best health plan, the American Association of Health Plans (AAHP) emphasizes that one of the most important steps is to assemble as much useful information as possible. The internet has become the favorite place for consumers to look for health related information, including health insurance information. However, no research has conducted to systematically study health insurance web sites. Thus this study was to systematically locate health insurance web sites by using search terms that contained the concept of health plans and the internet.

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