NEW YORK, Oct. 29, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans' lack of health care literacy may be leading them to avoid medical care.
More than one in four people (27.2%) have avoided care or treatment because they were unsure of what their health insurance covered, according to a new survey from Policygenius, the nation's leading online insurance marketplace.
Policygenius' research suggests people are increasingly confused about their coverage. For instance, this year's survey found more than 85% don't know the basic benefits that health insurance plans must cover under the Affordable Care Act, compared to 80% in 2018 and 78% in 2017.
"The survey data suggest the reason people avoid care is because they don't fully understand their insurance coverage and would rather avoid a surprise bill," Myles Ma, health care expert at Policygenius, said.
Americans are also confused about basic health insurance facts. Only 29.3% of respondents were able to correctly define all three of the most common health care expenses — premiums, copays and deductibles. Even among people with health insurance, only 36.1% knew all three terms.
"It's important to read the details in your health insurance policy to get a better understanding of your coverage," Ma said. "You can also call your provider to ask any specific questions you have about your policy."
The third annual Policygenius Health Insurance Literacy Survey also found:
- Only 11.9% of people knew the correct dates for 2019 federal open enrollment.
- Only one in five (21.9%) knew you could get aid to purchase an Obamacare plan — and awareness was even lower (15.6%) among people lacking coverage.
- About 80% of people erroneously believed there is still a tax penalty for foregoing health insurance.
- 13.2% of people were unsure if they had health insurance.
Policygenius' survey is based on responses from a nationally representative group of 1,500 Americans ages 18 and older. It was conducted through Google Consumer Surveys from Oct. 1 to Oct. 3, 2019. You can read the full report here.
About Policygenius: Policygenius is the nation's leading online insurance marketplace, with headquarters in New York City and Durham, North Carolina. We've helped more than 30 million people shop for all types of insurance like they shop for everything else — online. We launched in 2014 and are one of the early insurtech pioneers. We were named one of Inc. Magazine's Best Workplaces for 2018 and 2019.
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Senior Media Relations Manager, Policygenius