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Young Americans Have Trouble with Insurance Basics

There are a lot of health insurance terms that consumers should understand before purchasing health insurance coverage, such as copay, coinsurance, and deductible. In the past, research shows that many consumers do not understand these health insurance basics.

In fact, just last month, the Kaiser Family and Robert Wood Johnson Foundations released a report that revealed that many Americans have difficulties with basic health insurance terms. A recent poll conducted by the Morning Consult contradicted these findings. The poll revealed that overall, most registered voters understand the concepts of deductibles and copays. However, the poll results revealed that a major learning curve still exists among younger Americans. Here are the results from the latest Morning Consult poll.

Voters on Identifying what a Deductible Is

Deductible: the amount paid for covered care before the insurer begins to pay. For example, a family or individual may have to pay $500 out-of-pocket for covered services before the insurance company pays; this would be a $500 deductible.deductible

Chart: Morning Consult

The Morning Consult polling revealed that overall, 77 percent of registered voters correctly identified a deductible as “the amount of money consumers must spend on healthcare on their own before their insurance coverage kicks in.” Twelve percent incorrectly identified a deductible as the amount “paid by consumers in monthly installment to their insurance company,” which is actually an insurance premium. Ten percent of voters didn’t know what a deductible was.

These results are encouraging overall, especially since in the past, research has revealed that many consumers are confused by these terms. However, a learning curve still exists among younger voters:

  • Twenty nine percent of voters ages 18 to 29 incorrectly identified a deductible as the amount paid monthly by consumers to the insurance company

  • Twelve percent of voters ages 18 to 29 didn’t know what a deductible was

  • Eighteen percent of voters ages 30 to 44 incorrectly identified a deductible as the amount paid monthly by consumers to the insurance company

  • Ten percent of voters ages 30 to 44 didn’t know what a deductible was

On the other hand, older voters had a very thorough understanding of a deductible. A majority (84 percent) of voters ages 45 to 64 correctly identified a deductible, while 86 percent of voters over age 65 correctly identified a deductible.

Voters on Identifying How a Copay Works

Copay: (or copayment) is a flat dollar amount a consumer pays the healthcare provider for a covered service. For example, there may be a $30 copayment for each covered visit to a primary care doctor, and $10 for each generic prescription filled. Copayments vary from plan to plan and are sometimes different depending on the type of covered service received.Copay

Chart: Morning Consult

The Morning Consult polling revealed that overall, voters have a general idea of how a copay works. Their level of understanding was not as comprehensive as it was about deductibles, but overall, 58 percent of registered voters correctly responded that “copays for doctors visits and hospital stays are kept by the doctor or hospital.” Almost a quarter (24 percent) of pollees thought that copays for doctors visits and hospital stays are sent to the insurance companies. Eighteen percent of pollees did not know how a copay works.

The learning curve was more apparent among younger voters:

  • Among registered voters ages 18 to 29, only 42 percent were able to correctly identify how a copay works

  • Another 42 percent of registered voters ages 18 to 29 thought that copays for doctors visits and hospital stays are sent to health insurance companies

  • Sixteen percent of registered voters ages 18 to 29 didn’t know how a copay works

  • Fifty eight percent of registered voters ages 30 to 44 knew how a copay works

  • Sixty one percent of registered voters ages 45 to 64 knew how a copay works

Voters over age 65 had a firm understanding of copays. Only seven percent thought copays are sent to the insurance companies, while 68 percent correctly identified how a copay works. A quarter of voters over 65 didn’t know how a copay works.

Additional Resources:

The 4 Health Insurance Terms All Americans Need to Know (But Don't)

9 Individual Health Insurance Terms You Should Know

Understanding Health Insurance- A Basic Overview

 

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