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Half of millennials can't define deductible

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Most Americans believe that solving a Rubik’s Cube is easier than picking a health care plan. That’s according to a new survey from ConnectedHealth, an online platform for finding health insurance.  

Even if the survey respondents are underestimating the difficulty of the Rubik’s Cube, their response is nevertheless a valuable display of the stress and confusion that health care shopping can cause. 

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was supposed to make it easier to shop for insurance through the state exchanges. In some cases, it has succeeded. But the survey shows that many Americans are not in a good position to buy their own health insurance. 

For instance: 39 percent of Americans cannot correctly define the term “deductible.” Among millennials, 49 percent couldn’t. 

Furthermore, the survey showed that many can barely afford the plans they’re buying. More than a third of respondents said they couldn’t afford their current plan if the premium was hiked 10 percent, while a third were not confident that they could pay their deductible in the case of an emergency. 

Many of the low-cost plans on the PPACA exchanges have extremely high deductibles, a concept that many hope will guide consumers to take ownership of their health care decisions.

But with so many Americans — particularly the young — lacking even minimal savings, it’s clear that many beneficiaries will have a very hard time paying the $5,000 bill they may get after a visit to the ER.

“Our survey results support that health care has a long way to go before becoming a painless process,” said ConnectedHealth President Joe Donlan. “Americans are seeking tools to help them cut through the clutter and better understand their health care needs, as well as evaluate those needs against their finances to ensure they can afford proper coverage now and as they plan for the future.” 

As for premiums, the average increases nationally aren’t bad. But there have been plenty of cases of insurers dramatically raising rates.

The Obama administration has made clear that it will demand answers for any particularly high increases. But in the midst of a recent rash of insurer bankruptcies, it is inevitable that some insurers will raise premiums to stay profitable. 

The survey also found that few Americans care about having a particular doctor. When asked about their top priority in picking a plan, only 12 percent said that sticking with their preferred doctor was their top concern. Thirty-six percent cited cost and 40 percent said that “meeting all my medical needs” was the top concern.

 

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