Timely, actionable health insurance consumer insights.

Our Commercial Markets Insights Service focuses on consumers in non-government insurance programs. Since the passing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Deft has surveyed stakeholders in both the Individual and Family Plan (IFP) market and the Group Health insurance market. The annual surveys of consumers, employees and employers identify trends in plan uptake, generational differences in benefit preferences and disconnects in perception between decision-makers and employees. There are four studies publishing throughout the year that are outlined below.

  • Part I: IFP Shopping and Switching Study
  • Part II: Employer/Employee Group Insurance Study
  • Part III: Commercial Health Insurance Digital Tools Study
  • Part IV: IFP Member Experience and Engagement Study


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2021 Studies


This study delivers critical trend-tracking and analysis of consumer behavior during the plan year 2021 Open Enrollment season. Year-over-year trends in shopping and switching will be analyzed and the drivers of consumer behavior will be examined. The research results will also examine the preferences and effectiveness of marketing channels. Click here to view the 2021 study.

2021 Topics! The 2021 study builds on trends showing the relationships between key performance indicators — quality ratings, satisfaction, NPS, and others - with shopping and switching decisions. How did COVID-19 and the associated economic downturn impact shopping, switching, and insurance coverage decisions? Will these impacts influence future actions? How did subsidy levels and plan premiums changes for plan year 2021 impact consumer activity?


The 2021 study combines our Group Benefit Decision-Maker and our Employee Choice and Preference studies into a single report. The study focuses on the small and medium sized employer market (<5,000 employees), the “sweet spot” for most fully insured group carriers. This study examines the benefit preferences of employees and those of their employers. These perspectives are compared, often highlighting surprising discontinuities in their views and assumptions. Click here to view the 2021 study.

2021 Topics! What benefit changes were implemented for 2021 and what changes are anticipated for 2022? What are employers views of ICHRAs and who are most interested in this option? How are employees responding to the benefit offering changes their employers implemented? To what extent are employees relying on telehealth for medical services? For 2021, we will provide more detail by employer size, splitting out the small group and large group markets into size-based subsegments.


Health insurers are investing millions in technology platforms, often with mixed results. This study will examine how consumers use the various tools available to them - those provided by their insurers, their providers, their exchanges, as well as tools available outside of the traditional health insurer/provider universe through fitness devices and in their increasingly connected homes. Click here to view the 2021 study.

2021 Topics! What barriers to using digital health tools do consumers face? What messaging and tactics might increase the use of digital health tools? Do these tools effectively help members initiate or manage care? For the IFP market, we will examine the online shopping and enrollment experience. For the Employer market, we will ask how effective employer and insurer digital tools are for plan choice selection.


This study looks at trends in member satisfaction, retention and loyalty, and examines how plan communications, customer service, and access to care drive these key performance measures. The study identifies trends in key performance metrics such as CAHPS Overall Care and Plan ratings, Net Promoter Score and switch intention, as well as the drivers of these metrics. Click here to view the 2020 study.

2021 Topics! A substantial percentage of IFP members received MLR rebates in 2020 and an even greater percentage are likely to receive them in 2021. How do these rebates impact NPS, satisfaction and switch intention? Also, how do IFP members engage with the health resources available to them, and how do these resources drive key metrics like NPS, satisfaction, and loyalty?


Many health insurance clients choose to purchase local market sample and/or field the national surveys with their own members. LEARN MORE about the Commercial Market Insights Service >>>