Americans continue to struggle with health care literacy


The results of the survey revealed that many consumers still lack the knowledge necessary to make informed choices about their health plan and care, which translates into a concern for education and transparency in matters of health. health care.

According to the report, nearly a third (31%) of employees know they have received an inaccurate medical bill in the past three years, however, 52% say they don’t know how to dispute or settle a medical bill. .

In addition, nearly half of Americans receive their health insurance through employer coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. However, the DirectPath survey finds that only more than a third (37%) take advantage of employers’ available resources to learn how to choose and use their health plans.

Instead, many people turn to family (24%) and friends (14%), or Internet research (34%) to help them inform their diet choices. Turning to these external sources can be problematic, as most are unaware of the employer’s plans or the employee’s individual needs – and may be factually inaccurate, according to a statement from DirectPath.

COVID-19 changed the way employees accessed information about their benefits, with 34% taking advantage of online resources to learn more about their coverage, the statement said. This corresponds to a slight decrease in the use of more traditional media, with 27% using their employer’s HR presentations versus 33% in 2020, and 29% using print media versus 41% in 2020.

Receive care: when and where
Not only has the pandemic changed the way consumers receive information about their care, it has also changed the way they seek treatment. Almost a quarter (24%) of consumers said they canceled or postponed all health care appointments, while 23% said they skipped all preventive care appointments – only seeking care when they were sick. On the other hand, employees have shown a willingness to explore new ways of receiving care, as more than a third (36%) of consumers reported using telemedicine for the first time, compared to 22% who did. previously used.

These changes in the way care and care information is provided should raise questions for employees about how they choose and use their benefits. Shared results Few employees take advantage of opportunities to speak with experts in higher education or benefits when available. Only 19% report having benefited from a conversation with an HR representative and 10% report having spoken with benefits educators. Reassuringly, over 80% of employees who benefited from one-on-one conversations found them very or extremely useful.

Knowledge gaps in health insurance literacy are the root of many poor health care decisions, resulting in substandard care and higher costs.

Here are some examples found in the report:

  • Only 23% of those questioned said they took advantage of the cost comparison solutions offered by their insurer.
  • 57% say they only check if a provider is in the network when they plan to visit a new provider or facility, and 25% only do so when their health plan changes.
  • Of those surveyed who knew they had received an inaccurate medical bill in the past three years, an alarming 7% admitted to knowingly receiving an inaccurate medical bill and not doing anything about it – 52 % of these people who did not take action because they did not. I don’t know they could.

“Despite the COVID-19 pandemic drawing more attention than ever to health and healthcare, employees still don’t understand what they can do to get the most out of their plans and manage their costs. For something that affects not only the personal health of consumers, but also their financial well-being, unfortunately most are not prepared to take control, ”said Kim Buckey, vice president of customer services at DirectPath, in the press release. “Providing one-on-one support is key to ‘making it real’ for employees, so they can learn how to improve healthcare decision-making and the use of healthcare plans.

Buckley added that increased one-on-one benefit training and greater transparency in the healthcare industry are essential to ensure employees are able to choose and use their plans effectively.


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