Survey: Health Insurance Literacy Is Low

From the WebMD Archives

By Marissa Evans

Premium, deductible, copay, all basic health insurance terms many Americans don’t understand, according to a recent poll.

More than half could not correctly define at least one of these common financial terms related to health insurance, according to poll results released by the American Institute of CPAs.

Ernie Almonte, chair of the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission, said the struggling economy and on-going unemployment have distracted consumers’ attention from health care specifics. But, he says that’s still no excuse because understanding health insurance terminology “could help you make prudent decisions regarding your finances.”

“(People) only think about the copay when they do their prescription, but they don’t realize it could be $100 or $200 being taken out of their pay stub for health insurance premiums,” Almonte said. “It effects their everyday budget.”

The poll found knowledge of the terms increased with education level. Those with high school diplomas or less education were significantly more likely than those with college education to miss one of the terms given in the poll.

The survey also explored understanding and awareness of the health law, finding that 41 percent of respondents described themselves as not at all knowledgeable, while another 48 percent identified as being somewhat knowledgeable.

The telephone survey, conducted by Harris Interactive for the American Institute of CPAs, surveyed 1,008 adults between July 26 and July 29 and has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.

Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy research and communications organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.