December 24, 2013

ON THE OTHER HAND, WE WANT TO PUNISH THOSE WHO USE A LOT:

Health Insurance Shoppers are Terrible at Choosing Cost-Effective Plans (CLARA RITGER, 12/24/13, NATIONAL JOURNAL)

Health insurance shoppers do a terrible job of picking the plan that will serve them best, according to a new study.

The study presented subjects with health insurance websites that mirror the exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act and asked them to pick a plan. The results were not pretty: Left to their own devices, consumers who selected their own plans ended up only slightly better off than they would have had their plans been assigned randomly.

When given four options, the consumers chose the most cost-effective plan only 42 percent of the time. When given eight options, the success rate plummeted to 21 percent--a rate indistinguishable from random assignments. [...]

Consumers tend to overweigh the importance of premiums and underestimate the costs from deductibles and out-of-pocket contributions, the researchers wrote. Low premium payments are attractive, but for someone who uses a lot of health services, the high deductible that often accompanies the low premium means the consumer will pay the full cost of care until he or she reaches the deductible, when insurance kicks in and starts to share a portion of those expenses.
Posted by at December 24, 2013 2:45 PM
  
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