Will Healthcare Literacy Affect PPACA Success?

Ayla Ellison (Twitter | Google+) - Print  | 

A recent study by the University of Southern California's Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics in Los Angeles has found a majority of Americans do not understand basic health insurance terms, which could affect the overall success of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Just weeks before open enrollment for state and federal exchanges began last year, 42 percent of Americans were unable to explain a deductible, and 62 percent did not know a HMO plan had greater restrictions than a PPO, according to the study.

The researchers also found low-income and uninsured Americans — those most likely to benefit from the ACA — had the least awareness of health reform.

The study was based on survey responses from 6,000 individuals aged 18 and older.

Only about one in 10 people in the U.S. have a proficient level of health literacy, meaning they can understand and use health-related information in daily activities, according to a Kaiser Health News report   

"Giving somebody an insurance card and not really telling them what that insurance is going to do for them is not going to produce the health outcomes we all want to see," said Brendan Saloner, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, in the Kaiser report. "If the goal is to improve health and lower costs … it is really important to equip consumers with the education they need."

More Articles on PPACA:

Affordability, Competition and Choice in the PPACA Marketplaces: 5 Key Findings
CBO Maintains Original $124B PPACA Savings Estimate
HHS: Majority of Plans Purchased on HealthCare.gov With Tax Credits Cost Less Than $100 

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