Most Adults Say They’re Ready for Open Enrollment

Most Adults Say They’re Ready for Open Enrollment

But most don’t understand basic health insurance terms.

It’s open enrollment season for the 2018 health insurance year yet most people don’t fully understand the terms and conditions of the health plan coverage that they’ll ultimately choose.

That’s the important takeaway for employers from United Healthcare’s latest annual Consumer Sentiment Survey. This year’s report by the Minnetonka-based health insurer is based on a survey of a representative sample of 1,006 adults age 18 or older.

Some 72 percent of the respondents said they felt “prepared” or “very prepared” to select a health plan that will provide them with medical benefits over the 2018 calendar year. Only 22 percent said they felt “unprepared” or “very unprepared” to make a health plan choice. Six percent said they were unsure.

Most of the respondents also were unsure about basic health insurance concepts. In fact, only 9 percent were able to correctly define all four common terms and conditions of their health:

  • 62 percent correctly defined “health plan deductible”
  • 61 percent correctly defined “health plan premium”
  • 39 percent correctly defined “out-of-pocket maximum”
  • 31 percent correctly defined “co-insurance”

They did a little better on “co-pay” and “in-network health care provider” with 69 percent and 62 percent of the respondents, respectively, defining the two terms accurately.

The results point to the continuing need for employers to educate their employees on health plan choices and how benefit levels in each plan can affect them medically and financially.

And if employees don’t listen or attend educational sessions, they much prefer talking to a live customer service representative when they need help from their carrier.

Some 84 percent said they prefer speaking to a real person to get help for a specific issue or question compared with email (5 percent), online chat (5 percent), text messaging (2 percent) and automated representative by phone (1 percent).