'Dismal' Understanding of Health Plans Among Consumers
Loewenstein tested his plan on the survey respondents, who he says were somewhat more likely to make lower cost choices, such as going to an urgent care clinic under the simplified plan, and were more able to understand the cost ramifications of that decision under the simplified plan.
Loewenstein says he has asked health insurance executives why coverage is so complicated. He has been told that a lot of the complexity arises from the incentives built into plans to get consumers to do things such as go to an urgent care center for an earache or to shop around for the best price on certain procedures.
The million dollar question of course is: how can consumers take full advantage incentives if they can't make sense of their policies?
Loewenstein has reached out to insurers to pitch his simplified health plan without success. "It seems like a no-brainer to me, but so far insurance companies have a very little appetite for the idea."
Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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