New study finds confusion on plan cost-sharing options
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) calls for health insurers to disclose the benefits and costs of their health plan offerings in a standard way so families can compare options and make good choices. Consumers Union studied the early prototypes for this Summary of Coverage form to determine whether it would meet that need. Generally, people found the forms visually appealing and consumer-friendly.
However, we also found a deep-seated consumer confusion with respect to health plan cost-sharing. These findings have significant implications for anyone providing comparative health insurance information, like the future state health exchanges and the HHS web portal. The findings also have implications for policies that rely on the ability of consumers to make informed health insurance purchasing decisions (such as “consumer driven healthcare” policies). Finally, they have implications for other consumer-facing documents like the “explanation of benefits” statement (EOB) insurers provide when claims are filed.