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.

Related Articles


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 March 5, 2015 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 March 5, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Adults Only Get The Flu Twice A Decade, Researchers Say

Adults Only Get The Flu Twice A Decade, Researchers Say

Newsy (Mar. 4, 2015) — Researchers found adults only get the flu about once every five years. Scientists analyzed how a person&apos;s immunity builds up over time as well. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Hormone Could Protect Against Diabetes And Weight Gain

New Hormone Could Protect Against Diabetes And Weight Gain

Newsy (Mar. 4, 2015) — A newly discovered hormone mimics the effects of exercise, protecting against diabetes and weight gain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mount Everest Has a Poop Problem

Mount Everest Has a Poop Problem

Buzz60 (Mar. 4, 2015) — With no bathrooms to use, climbers of Mount Everest have been leaving human waste on the mountain for years, and it&apos;s becoming a health issue. Mike Janela (@mikejanela) has more. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Tips to 'Skinny' Your Home

The Best Tips to 'Skinny' Your Home

Buzz60 (Mar. 4, 2015) — If you&apos;re looking to reach your health goals this season, there are a few simple tips to help you spring clean your space and improve your nutrition. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the skinny on keeping a healthy home. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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