Even though the majority of workers receive health insurance coverage on the job, a new survey has found that many of them understand surprisingly little about their health plans and are leaving money on the table. The “Health Insurance Literacy Survey” by Healthcare.com found widespread misunderstanding about how copays and deductibles work, and what premiums and benefits are. Experts say that when people don’t understand their health insurance they may make poor coverage decisions, such as choosing plans that provide more benefits than they need, or too few. Those poor choices can be costly in terms of the premiums they pay or what they pay in copays, coinsurance and deductibles out of pocket. Some of the key findings:
- 26% of Americans surveyed say lack of health insurance understanding caused them to receive a higher-than-expected medical bill.
- 41% were unable to correctly answer what “in-network” means. Understanding the meaning of in-network is crucial when choosing where to receive treatment and avoiding paying excessive fees for medical services when going out of network. Most health plans do not cover out-of-network care.
- 59% don’t understand that low-deductible health insurance plans start paying out sooner than high-deductible health plans (HDHPs).
- 22% incorrectly believe that if they think their medical expenses will be low in the coming year, they should choose a low-deductible plan.
- 43% of those surveyed could correctly identify what a health savings account is, and 20% could not describe a single feature of these tax-advantage accounts.