Get the most out of your health insurance plan
People with health insurance are leaving money on the insurance table. Not deliberately. We’re all busy living our lives. We think about health insurance when we need it, or when we have a significant life change such a birth, marriage or a change in our employment status.
But even then, we’re overwhelmed with insurance. About 50% of people in the United States spend less than one hour researching benefit plan options on an annual basis. It’s estimated that half of the U.S. population gets their health insurance through an employer plan or through the open market: that’s a lot of people (over 150 million) making decisions that can and will adversely impact their pocket. One would expect a higher level of knowledge of health insurance, but that’s not the case.
Most people are not health insurance literate. For example:
- About half (51%) of Americans do not understand basic health insurance terms like premium, deductible and copay
- Only 16 percent of respondents in a Kaiser Family Foundation survey could calculate the cost of an out-of-network lab test
- 61% of people chose the wrong health plan for their needs where they could have saved on average $372 annually (probably more)
- 88% of U.S. adults cannot calculate an employee’s share of health insurance costs
- Young adults between ages 18 and 24 are 151% more likely to have inadequate HIL compared to older adults
- Only 12% of American adults have proficient health literacy, able to effectively function in the health care system. Low health literacy is associated with poorer health outcomes and poorer use of health care services
It’s estimated that 42% of people waste about $750 each year (at least) by making mistakes with their insurance benefits or by not taking advantage of features readily available to them (AFLAC survey).
What would you do with $750? Would you be willing to spend more than one hour a year to keep $750 (or more) in your pocket?
Be an active consumer of your health insurance
• Read the fine print
• Keep good notes
• Learn how to navigate your plan and the health insurance landscape
• Don’t assume what you’re told is accurate; trust but verify
Follow William J. Pokluda on Facebook (@William J. Pokluda) and on Twitter.