WINDSOR, Conn., July 11, 2013 — Recently, LIMRA asked more than 2,000 Americans a series of ten true/false questions to gauge their understanding and basic knowledge of health insurance. The results were grim:
- Nearly 8 in 10 consumers failed the test — answering five or fewer questions correctly
- Only 1 in 10 consumers correctly answered at least seven questions
- Uninsured consumers, on average, answered less than 3 in 10 questions correctly
“Overall, Americans expressed a great deal of confusion about how health insurance plans work,” said Anita Potter, assistant vice president, LIMRA Insurance Research. “Not surprisingly, insured Americans had a better understanding of health insurance than those uninsured – but not by a large margin.”
LIMRA found consumers with low levels of health insurance knowledge more likely to be younger, less affluent, less educated, more likely to be a student, unemployed or uninsured. The survey results also revealed that while consumers are more knowledgeable about what health insurance is and how to access care, many showed a tremendous lack of knowledge about plan features, the costs involved, and how various types of plans work.
The study found that few consumers (14 percent) understand how the public health exchanges, established by PPACA, will work. For uninsured consumers — who are most likely to use these exchanges — less than 1 in 10 know what types of plans will be available.
LIMRA also asked consumers to identify the deciding factor that would influence how they chose a health insurance plan. While cost is the number one criterion for both insured (36 percent) and uninsured consumers (60 percent) deciding on a plan, LIMRA found insured consumers are nearly as likely to consider how comprehensive the plan is as they are to consider its cost.
“Our survey confirms that consumers need help determining what types of coverage are available and what they should buy to best meet their need,” noted Potter. “Our industry can help by engaging and educating consumers now – so when they ultimately choose their health care insurance, it is done prudently.”
No one surveyed answered all ten questions correctly.
LIMRA, a worldwide research, consulting and professional development organization, is the trusted source of industry knowledge, helping more than 850 insurance and financial services companies in 73 countries increase their marketing and distribution effectiveness. Visit LIMRA at www.limra.com.