Given that insurers and producers are not quite sure what is happening with health insurance these days, it seems likely that consumers feel as if they are looking at the plans through a thick, thick fog.
Aetna Inc., Hartford (NYSE:AET), has tried to gauge the thickness of the fog by commissioning a telephone survey of 1,009 U.S. adults with health insurance other than Medicare or Medicaid.
Aetna found that 30% are not sure how to tell the difference between a health maintenance organization and a preferred provider organization, and 26% have a hard time understanding which providers are in their plans’ networks.
Many policymakers want consumers to drive down the cost of health care and health insurance by shopping around, but 32% of the consumers surveyed admitted that they have a hard time even knowing what the total cost of their health insurance plans is.
Earlier this week, analysts at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Menlo Park, Calif., reported that even Republicans who hate the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) like the PPACA provision that will require carriers to provide plain-English plan summaries.
Aetna is working with the Financial Planning Association, Denver, to develop a consumer education campaign designed to clear away some of the fog. The campaign includes a new guide, Navigating Your Health Benefits For Dummies.
Many doctors are skeptical about whether electronic health records (EHR) will provide enough new efficiency to be worth the cost of giving up manila folders, but the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is trying to accelerate doctors’ shift to EHR systems.
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH), a law enacted before PPACA, offers financial incentives to doctors and hospitals that participate in Medicare or Medicaid and make meaningful use of EHR systems quickly.