Survey: Washington state consumers befuddled by health insurance complexity

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 Health Insurance News
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Group Health study shows confusion about common terminology

SEATTLE, Oct. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Washington state consumers are struggling to understand basic principles

of health coverage, according to a recent survey of 1,000 Washingtonians, conducted by PRR Research on behalf of Group Health Cooperative.

Almost 60 percent of the respondents couldn't identify the correct definition of "coinsurance," and more than 40 percent didn't know the proper definition of a "deductible," the study showed. Beyond not knowing the correct definitions of key health care terminology, the study found that many Washingtonians believed they had an understanding, but in fact were wrong. Nearly half of the respondents chose the wrong definition of "copay," while less than 6 percent acknowledged that they were "not sure" of the definition. This highlights the need for public education regarding health insurance terminology, even among people who believe they're already up to speed.

"On the eve of open enrollment, when millions of Washington residents will select an insurance plan for 2017, we see that consumers need the kind of support Group Health offers," said Melinda Hews, Executive Director of Health Insurance Exchanges, Group Health. "Finding a health insurance plan is an important decision and we've always worked with our members and the public to help people better understand their choices."

Group Health offers robust online resources, easy-to-understand instructional videos, and interactive quizzes designed to help consumers select a health insurance plan that aligns with their personal needs and the needs of their family. Anyone, not just Group Health members, can find the online resources at:

While health insurance terminology may be confusing, the survey showed that people generally like talking to their doctors and feel comfortable talking with their doctors about their health. The study showed:

  • Doctors are the people who Washingtonians are most likely to talk to about their health. Respondents are more likely to talk about their health with their doctor than with their family, spouse/significant other, or friends.
  • More than 80 percent of respondents feel comfortable talking to their doctor about their weight, energy, eating habits, and exercise habits, while less than 60 percent feel comfortable talking to their doctor about sex.
  • More than eight-out-10 respondents agreed with Group Health that being healthy is about more than keeping your body in good working order; it's about being human and living your life every step of the way.
  • Of the health insurance terms we tested, knowledge of deductibles was highest: 65 percent chose the correct definition.

A copy of the complete research report is available upon request.

About Group HealthGroup Health Cooperative offers a unique health care system, care delivery and insurance coverage, in order to achieve one goal – affordable, quality health care for all. Our innovative practices at 25 medical centers and within major Washington hospitals have earned national recognition for medical quality, disease prevention, and evidence-based treatments. These priorities have remained the same since we began serving patients in 1947. As a nonprofit organization, Group Health helps more than 600,000 patients throughout Washington state achieve better health. Our focus on preventive care, combined with medical education, a charitable foundation and a nationally recognized research institute, advances health in the community in a way no one else can. Group Health supports events, programs, and organizations that share this commitment to strengthening health in our communities. For more information about Group Health, visit

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:

SOURCE Group Health


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