Insurers: Don't ignore the lack of health literacy


As the health insurance industry gears up for another enrollment period, set to kick off November 15, the lack of health literacy continues to be an issue for both insurers and consumers, reports the Wall Street Journal.

With an estimated 54 million individuals uninsured, explaining healthcare lingo is as important than ever.

It's imperative for insurers to realize what's causing confusion among consumers.

For starters, 37 percent of enrollees don't know the amount of their deductible, notes the WSJ. This does not bode well for families on a budget who, on average, pay $2,300 for single coverage in the popular Silver plan.

Subsidies are another huge issue. Forty-six percent of enrollees say they receive subsidies, when, in fact, 85 percent actually receive them. But out of those who do know they receive subsidized coverage, 47 percent aren't aware of the amount they receive, according to the WSJ.

Boosting health literacy has been on insurers' agendas for quite some time. Back in 2013, UnitedHealth recognized the importance of its relationship with the consumer and came up with three key elements that consumers wants--simplicity, personalization and care, Tom Paul, chief consumer officer at UnitedHealth, previously told FierceHealthPayer.

And while 36 percent of people eligible to enroll do not understand the concept of premiums, 38 percent aren't confident with their understanding of maximum annual out-of-pocket spending. Another 36 percent are confused about provider networks, according to a study from the Urban Institute earlier this year, reports the WSJ.

In the meantime, insurers can find innovative ways to boost health literacy among consumers. For example, this summer, Independence Blue Cross has the Independence Express, a tractor-trailer traveling the Philadelphia region offering educational seminars to providers and groups that help consumers enroll in marketplace plans.

For more:
- here's the WSJ article

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