Americans spend 12M hours a week on the phone with health insurers

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On average, Americans cumulatively spend 12 million hours a week talking to their health insurer, according to a Stanford study

On an Oct. 18 Kaiser Health News podcast, study lead Jeffrey Pfeffer, PhD, said time spent on the phone with insurers leads to lost wages, burnout and stress.

It also results in $21.6 billion in lost wages for employers talking to their insurers on the clock and $26 billion in wages lost due to taking time off for insurance phone calls. Because those who spend time on the phone with insurers are less satisfied with their jobs, the study estimates $95 billion is lost through a lack of productivity alone. 

"We don't hold these outside administrators accountable," Dr. Pfeffer said in the study. "We don't measure how long it takes them to process claims, or how much aggravation they're causing employees, or whether they are in fact helping with recruitment and retention through their actions. If you don't hold health insurers accountable, you shouldn't expect them to do a particularly good job — and they don't."

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