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Survey: Few Understand Health Plan Acronyms

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Fewer than half of U.S. adults know what common managed care terms mean.

Researchers at eHealth Inc., Mountain View, Calif., have reported that finding in a summary of results from a recent telephone survey of 1,010 U.S. adults.

About 36% of participants said they know “HMO” stands for “health maintenance organization,” but only 20% said they know “PPO” stands for “preferred provider organization,” and only 11% said they know “HSA” stands for “health savings account.”

Only about 23% said they are very sure they understand the terminology used in their own health policies, the researchers say.

About 71% of the participants said a side-by-side comparison of policies could help them understand the policies better, and 65% said they would appreciate live assistance with questions.