Keep Benefit Summaries Simple

An educated consumer has been a goal in health care of late, cited as one way to tame the health care cost tiger. In the Affordable Care Act, the element most favorable to those consumers is the requirement that health plans provide easy-to-understand benefit summaries, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. More than 8 in 10 of those surveyed (84 percent) support this measure, and it’s a support that cuts across political parties. How much can such information be boiled down, and can it ever be boiled down enough? About 90 million Americans — about half of all adults — struggle to read a map, balance a checkbook, or stick to a simple schedule. Will they be able to fare any better choosing benefits? Health care literacy expert Michael S. Wolf, PhD, predicts that health care illiteracy will reach epidemic proportions by 2030.

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