A Measure of Trust in Insurers

This study created a conceptual framework for trust in health care organizations based on theory and empirical studies to develop a comprehensive, reliable measure of trust in health insurers. Items from this conceptual framework were used in a structured telephone survey, which also tested measures of health and utilization, doctor-patient trust, and satisfaction with care. The study sample included 400 insured residents of Southeastern Michigan.

Key Findings:

The developed measure of enrollee trust in insurers is reliable and can be a useful patient-centered assessment tool.

  • Insurer trust correlated strongly with trust in doctors, satisfaction with care, and with an item assessing overall worry about health insurance.
  • Hypothesized relationships—such as intent to switch plans; greater choice in health plan associated with greater satisfaction with plan; and healthier respondents reporting greater trust—provided preliminary evidence of construct validity.