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'Dismal' Understanding of Health Plans Among Consumers

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, August 21, 2013

Even scarier, he says, is the thought of millions of consumers, most previously uninsured, deciphering the intricacies of the bronze, silver, gold, and platinum offering on the exchanges. "Consumers can't be engaged in this process if they don't have basic knowledge of how health insurance works. They'll make disastrous decisions," Loewenstein states.

While it's great that navigators and all kinds of assisters will be out in the field helping consumers work through the exchange offerings, Loewenstein thinks there is a better way. He would like to see is a simplified health insurance plan offered—not simple in terms of coverage—but in terms of how it pays for treatments and procedures.

A Better Way
Under his ideal plan, copayments and transparency would rule the health insurance world. Cost sharing, deductibles, and co-insurance would all disappear. Paying for healthcare would be similar to going to a restaurant and ordering from the menu. The prices would be right there.

Loewenstein acknowledges that copayments would have to increase and consumers would certainly face the sticker-shock of how much an MRI or CT actually costs. The upside is that healthcare costs would be predictable. No more waiting for your insurer to send along a statement of benefits detailing a bunch of confusing adjustments.

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1 comments on "'Dismal' Understanding of Health Plans Among Consumers"


Harvey (8/22/2013 at 8:04 AM)
Co-payments is not a complex term. The industry claims it is so confusing due to "incentives". I don't believe that ten years ago there was any more consumer knowledge about health insurance terminology. Carriers always made their offering plans confusing. It is much easier to deny services if you cannot understand what your buying