People know that the world of insurance is inscrutable and complex. But now there’s a new measure for how opaque the system is and how difficult consumers find to make sound choices.
A recent survey find that choosing healthcare benefits is not only the second most difficult major life decision behind saving for retirement. It is also harder than buying a car, deciding on medical tests, selecting home or auto insurance and yes, even harder than making decisions on parenting.Of those consumers who described choosing health benefits as difficult an overwhelming 88 percent blamed it on available information that is both confusing and complicated while84 percent said that the information is confusing.
The survey – Aetna Empowered Health Index Survey – was conducted by insurance company Aetna and interviewed 1,500 Americans, who were at least 18 years old over the phone, including cell phones.
“The Aetna Empowered Health Index Survey results showed that consumers understand the importance of health benefits. However, they don’t feel they have the resources they need to make an educated decision,” said Mark T. Bertolini, Aetna’s chairman, CEO and president, in a news release. “We need to make the process of choosing and using health benefits easier for consumers.”
Here are some additional results from the survey:
- 83 percent believe that it is hard to know which plan would be most suitable for them
- 42 percent never track their out-of-pocket expenditures
- 41 percent have either skipped a dose of prescription drugs, stopped taking them entirely or delayed a medical procedure
- More than 75 percent believe that all elements of the Affordable Care Act are important to their families or them but 41 percent of participants said that they need more information
Aetna has been trying to tackle some of these issues through the Plan For Your Health website, which allows people to understand their needs based on their stage of life- young adult, getting married.
Other insurers are also trying to find ways to put more tools in the hands of consumers that provide more transparency in making health decisions. The myHealthcare Cost Estimator tool from UnitedHealthcare brings a retail experience to the healthcare industry.
[Photo Credit: Confused from Big Stock Photos]