Pent-up Demand For Care Not There

Pent-up Demand For Care Not There

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Pent-up Demand For Care Not There
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Calendar20 January 2015

You have to love Big Data. An analysis of activity on the free online appointment-booking tool ZocDoc suggests that people enrolled in the public exchanges in 2014 were no sicker than those enrolled in employer health programs. Americans who bought individual health insurance through the public exchange booked appointments for preventive care in 2014 at a higher rate than their counterparts in group plans, but they were no more likely to seek out costly specialists. Of course, it’s important to consider potential bias in any dataset, and patients who use ZocDoc to book appointments rather than the phone are slightly younger (read: more tech-savvy) than the US population at large. However, the doctor who is co-founder and COO of ZocDoc says the tool’s users — millions of people in all 50 states — are otherwise demographically representative. If, in fact, there isn’t much pent-up demand for care among these newly insured, it could be good news for the employers that extended eligibility to more employees in 2015.

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