A new ValuePenguin.com survey has exposed the uncertainty that many feel about health insurance — 1 in 2 Americans do not know the answers to basic health insurance questions.
More worryingly, 72% of Americans expressed confusion and uncertainty around purchasing health insurance, and their own coverage. This confusion can lead to serious financial consequences for policyholders — and impede public health improvements:
- 1 in 2 consumers struggle to understand key health insurance concepts. 55% don’t know what a health insurance premium is, 54% are confused about deductibles and 48% don’t know what a copay is. 45% falsely believe they can switch health insurance coverage plans at any time.
- 72% of Americans say purchasing or using health insurance is confusing. Among this group, 55% indicated they weren’t sure what kind of health insurance plan and coverage to choose and 39% said they have questions about using their health insurance.
- 37% of Americans expressed anxiety over affording health insurance, fears that stem from confusion over the specifics of health insurance. Nearly six in 10 Americans demonstrated that they didn’t know what the term meant — even if they thought they did, and one in 10 said they had no idea what their out-of-pocket maximum was.
- 57% of insured consumers have avoided seeking medical care because they’re not sure whether it would be covered by their health insurance. More than a third of respondents aren’t sure if their insurance would cover the cost of a COVID-19 test. And young people were more likely to have avoided medical care due to uncertainty, with 69% of Millennials and 64% of Generation Zers admitting they’ve opted not to seek care.
According to Andrew Hurst, a research analyst at ValuePenguin.com, “Americans need to rethink what they believe they know about health insurance, and address the gaps in their knowledge as a matter of urgency.” He adds, “Not knowing enough about health insurance is preventing many Americans from budgeting effectively, and getting the treatment they need. This becomes a matter of significant concern when seen in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the economic uncertainty that many families are facing right now.”
ValuePenguin.com commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,138 Americans, with the sample base proportioned to represent the overall population. The survey was fielded in October 2020. To view the full report, visit https://www.valuepenguin.com/health-insurance-literacy