Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Uninsured face hurdles choosing health insurance​​​​​​​​​

Date:
November 11, 2013
Source:
Washington University in St. Louis
Summary:
A new study identifies difficulties for uninsured people who are trying to register for health-care coverage.

A new study identifies difficulties for uninsured people who are trying to register for health-care coverage.
Credit: Robert Boston

The new federal health-care law gives millions of Americans access to medical insurance. However, choosing the right coverage -- a daunting task for most people -- could be even more difficult for those who have never had health insurance, according to a new study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Although the research took place before enrollment under the federal Affordable Care Act began last month, the study's authors identified hurdles that appear to be common among the uninsured. These include a lack of understanding familiar terms such as coinsurance and deductible that are necessary to compare and choose among available health plans.

"Selecting the best health-insurance option can be confusing, even for people who have gone through the process for many years," said Mary Politi, PhD, an assistant professor of surgery and the study's lead author. "We need to do a better job communicating information about health insurance to help people make the choices that work best for them."

The study, one of the first to examine how well people who never have had health insurance understand key insurance terms and details, appears online in Medical Care Research and Review.

In October, U.S. citizens began enrolling for health-care coverage expanded under the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare. The plans take effect as early as Jan. 1; open enrollment continues until March 31.

Findings from the study suggest that health-care navigators -- workers hired under the federal law to help people sign up for health insurance -- will play an important role. The navigators could simplify details, use visuals and provide context for unfamiliar terms to help people better understand their health insurance choices, the study's authors said.

Researchers examined how well people who have been without health insurance understand such key terms as coinsurance, deductible, out-of-pocket maximum, prior authorization and formulary. (The latter is a list of medications that are approved under a health insurance policy.) Those terms were among the most difficult for study participants, 51 uninsured Missourians from rural, urban and suburban parts of the state.

The study also found that:

  • People who have been without health insurance but have had experience with auto insurance were more familiar with deductibles.
  • Those who have had health insurance understood more terms than those who have never had it.
  • Even individuals who have had previous experience with health insurance confused the meaning of similar terms, such as urgent care and emergency care or co-insurance and co-payment.

Based on their findings, the researchers are testing ways to improve communication about health insurance and the newly created state and federal health insurance exchanges. This effort is especially important for individuals with limited health literacy and math skills, given the complex information required to understand plan differences, Politi said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University in St. Louis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. C. Politi, K. A. Kaphingst, M. Kreuter, E. Shacham, M. C. Lovell, T. McBride. Knowledge of Health Insurance Terminology and Details Among the Uninsured. Medical Care Research and Review, 2013; DOI: 10.1177/1077558713505327

Cite This Page:

Washington University in St. Louis. "Uninsured face hurdles choosing health insurance​​​​​​​​​." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131111144016.htm>.
Washington University in St. Louis. (2013, November 11). Uninsured face hurdles choosing health insurance​​​​​​​​​. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131111144016.htm
Washington University in St. Louis. "Uninsured face hurdles choosing health insurance​​​​​​​​​." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131111144016.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins