Like every social, political and economic policy in our country; health insurance is complicated. We started with an already complex system. Then Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed, setting up insurance “exchanges” that offer consumers and small businesses a choice of health plans. While hugely beneficial to many, definitely muddied already murky waters. Then just when I started to understand ACA, Trump starts to dismantle it. But politics are only part of the blame in the healthcare jumble. God forbid you are navigating through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), Medicare or Medicaid.
With all of this chaos, is it any wonder that most Americans don’t understand their own health insurance policy? A 2016 survey identified four key health insurance terms necessary for a basic knowledge of healthcare: deductible, co-insurance, co-pay, and out-of-pocket maximum . It found that just 4% of Americans are able to correctly define all four terms. My theory? We all put our hands over our ears and yell “LALALALA” anytime we hear anything related to healthcare. It’s all too much, we’re never going to get it, so why bother? We’ll just sit in the mandatory new employee orientation, nod our heads at the appropriate times, and Snapchat under the table.
But it doesn’t have to be like this. So let’s all take a cleansing breath, and start basic. If you can grasp the above four terms, you can comprehend the basics of your policy. And you’ll be ahead of 96% of Americans.