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UnitedHealthcare Survey Shows That Few People Have Full Understanding of Basic Insurance Concepts

In an effort to simplify the health care experience nationwide, UnitedHealthcare conducted the UnitedHealthcare Consumer Sentiment Survey amongst a group of over 1,000 adults in September of 2016. Our goal was to help inform the conversation around healthcare affordability, accessibility, and ease, so we examined Americans’ attitudes and opinions about four areas of health care: comparison shopping, wellness programs, health literacy and customer service.

The survey’s key discovery was startling; while more Americans are now comparison shopping for health care, most people don’t fully understand what they are buying.

The use of websites and mobile apps to comparison shop for health care is increasing, especially among young people. Nearly half (47 percent) of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 said they have used online or mobile resources to comparison shop for health care treatments or services. But in spite of the survey’s data about U.S. consumers’ increased willingness to use technology to help improve health care knowledge and access, many Americans do not understand basic health insurance concepts that are important to using their health plan benefits.

Only 7 percent of respondents could successfully define all four basic health insurance concepts: plan premium, deductible, co-insurance and out-of-pocket maximum. More than 60 percent of respondents successfully defined plan premium and deductible; however, respondents had a more difficult time defining out-of-pocket maximum (36 percent) and co-insurance (32 percent).

UnitedHealthcare* is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives, and we view knowledge as power. With Americans continuing to struggle with health literacy, we are continuing to release quality member publications, programs and campaigns that educate and empower. When people can’t understand health information, it’s harder to make good health care decisions. The results of low health literacy are poorer health outcomes and higher health costs. To successfully manage their health, people need information that is understandable and easy to use.

As you enter into open enrollment season, please be sure that your employees understand these four basic concepts.

  • Health Care Premium = The amount of money a person pays for a health insurance plan each month.
  • Health Plan Deductible = The amount a person pays for health care services before insurance coverage starts.
  • Out-of-Pocket Maximum = The maximum amount a person must pay for covered health expenses during a plan year.
  • Co-Insurance = The share of costs for a covered health care service a person must pay after health insurance coverage is factored in.

*Insurance coverage provided by or through UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company or its affiliates. Administrative services provided by United HealthCare Services, Inc. or their affiliates. Health Plan coverage provided by or through a UnitedHealthcare company. © 2017 United HealthCare Services, Inc.

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