Benefit Design Trade-off Service

How will your members react if you alter a plan or change a price? If given several options, which plan would consumers be most likely to choose? Which features drive consumers’ plan selections?

Deft Research’s Benefit Design Trade-off Service provides health plans with answers to these difficult questions, and more. The service uses an advanced research technique, conjoint analysis, to determine how health insurance consumers value different individual attributes that make up a benefit plan.

The result is a market simulation tool that provides the insights product development teams need to assess the future profitability, sales, and potential share of preference for new product entries, or modifications to existing products.


  • Medicare Advantage Plans
  • MedSupp Plans
  • Individual and Family Plans
  • Employer Group Plans
  • Prescription Drug Plans
  • Ancillary Benefits

Managers at the nation’s leading health plans have used insights from the service to:

  • Determine optimal design configurations for new products.
  • Forecast profitability and/or market share for new products given current competitors.
  • Understand the impact of new competitor products on profits / market share.
  • Determine the best positioning for new or modified products.
  • Forecast response to alternative pricing strategies, levels, or proposed price changes.

How does it work?

When making choices between health plan options, all consumers are faced with trade-offs. For example, is brand name drug coverage more important than dental coverage? Is a low monthly premium more important than having their primary care doctor in-network?

Rather than directly asking survey respondents what they prefer in a health plan, or what attributes they find most important, the Benefit Design Trade-off Service uses conjoint analysis to take respondents through a more realistic shopping exercise, where they evaluate a series of potential plan profiles.

In the conjoint exercise, respondents are asked to complete about 12-15 purchasing decisions. By independently varying the features that are shown to the respondents and observing patterns in their choices, a model is produced. This model shows which plan features are the most desired and which attributes have the most impact on choice.

The model produces utility scores for each attribute level included in the study. While utility scores are helpful, knowing buyers’ preferences aren’t enough to inform product development decisions and guide successful marketing strategies. This is why Deft Research provides clients with access to their conjoint data through an online market simulator.

Online Market Simulator

This online tool allows clients to conduct “what-if?” scenarios in order to isolate how changes to products can boost their competitiveness and measure price sensitivity around key attributes.

Simulator data provides clients with the insights they need develop optimal benefit packages, best position products, and price plans appropriately. By considering both what people want, and what is currently available, market simulations can also point to opportunities.



Deft Research provides clients with access to their conjoint data through an online market simulator. This web-based platform allows you to access your data for up to two years and create your own market simulations


We will provide your team with training on how to use your online market simulator, and provide on-going technical support via phone, email, or WebEx.


Many clients choose to have our team produce a market scenario report when we illustrate how subtle changes in design lead to both different share and greater preference from certain consumer segments.


No need to sweat the “discovery phase”— our research team is already caught up to speed on the complexities facing the health insurance business. We have a focused process for understanding your business objectives and designing a study to get you the insights you need.


A streamlined kick-off, survey design, and data collection process means shorter time to launch the study—and faster access to results.


Leveraging our library of tried-and-true survey elements, our research analysts can provide you with survey design recommendations that tie question and attribute selections to your key business objectives.

Ready to take the guesswork out of your product development?

Complete the form to request more information.