The search for the educated consumer continues, but it doesn’t seem to have gone much further than where it was when Managed Care covered the topic way back in 1999. A survey by PolicyGenius finds that only 4% of Americans are familiar with these terms: deductible, co-pay, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximum. This is disconcerting at any time, but especially in the post-ACA era when consumers must choose coverage options. The entire shift to a value-based health care system also requires a consumer who’s more engaged.
Socrates called himself the most intelligent man in ancient Greece because he knew that he didn’t know much. That’s not the case with respondents to this survey of 2,000 insurance customers. The percentage of beneficiaries who could define one of those terms was 25 percentage points less than the percentage who said they could define the term.
The survey points out that overconfidence can lead to some disastrous decisions, especially now during the ACA’s open enrollment period. If you “don’t understand what a deductible is, or what your out-of-pocket maximum is, you could be stuck with a plan that’s outside of your budget for the entire year. Knowing what these terms mean, and what they mean for your finances, can save you a lot of headaches—or worse.”