A recent survey of health care insurance IQ reveals that many consumers are unaware of some basic facts regarding their health insurance coverage, facts that could impact their financial well being.

The Ohio Department of Insurance and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners discovered that only 61 percent of the 1,000 survey respondents were aware of their right to appeal a denied health insurance claim, while fewer than one-third said they thoroughly understood the cost factors that go into determining the premiums they are charged. Nearly one-fifth indicated they were inclined to visit an out-of-network provider, a decision that can have significant financial implications.

In this economic environment, consumers need to understand all of the factors that impact the cost of their health insurance,” said Mary Jo Hudson, Ohio’s Insurance Director. By getting smart about their policies and tapping into the resources available, consumers will be more confident about their insurance choices and learn to make cost-effective decisions without sacrificing important coverage needs.”

Tips to help consumers better grasp their health insurance needs and requirements include conducting a coverage checkup (researching options and reviewing coverage before deciding to visit a physician), utilizing an employer’s open-enrollment period (taking advantage of insurers’ obligation to accept all applicants of the group and auditing existing coverage and deductibles) and contacting the department of insurance in one’s state with questions or complaints and to learn about consumer protections provided by law.

It’s a real opportunity for advisors to step in and help their senior clients learn what’s available for them.