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Assurant: Live Humans Rule

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Many consumers still have better luck with buying health coverage from people than with buying it through the Web, an insurer says.

Assurant Health, Milwaukee, a unit of Assurant Inc., New York, has reported that finding in a summary of results from a survey of 1,003 U.S. consumers who have bought individual health insurance within the past 2 years.

About 38% of the survey participants bought the coverage online, and 62% through an agent.

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The percentage of participants who said they ended up understanding what their plan would and would not cover was 61% for participants who bought coverage from live human agents and 42% for participants who bought coverage online.

Similarly, 61% of the participants who bought coverage from a live human agent said it was easy for them to understand the differences between plans well enough to compare the plans. Only 46% of the participants who bought coverage online said they understood the plan differences well enough to determine which plan was the right plan for them.