I’m looking at a nice consumer benefits survey report.

The organizers asked the participants the standard sort of questions to assess whether they had access benefits such as critical illness insurance, short-term disability insurance and long-term care insurance.

The access and take-up rates reported seemed high.

Then, it hit me: The rates might be high because the participants were pretending to know what some of the benefits were. A significant percentage of them may have no idea how to tell the difference between critical illness insurance, short-term disability insurance and a hole in the wall.

When possible, organizers of this sort of survey ought to start including fictional, somewhat absurd options, in one or two questions, to verify what the baseline level of fake answers is.

If, say, 10 percent of the participants swear that they have quantum life insurance, 15 percent said they had access to worksite podiatric benefit plans, or 20 percent said they knew they would be getting help with paying for nursing home care from the Federal Numismatics Administration, we’d come away with a rough idea of the percentage of the participants who had not given especially reliable, well-informed answers.

See also: 

Employer health coverage at all-time high

Advisors can lose clients with too much jargon

 

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