About a third of Americans compare health plans, but few understand basics

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While an increasing number of Americans are comparing healthcare prices using technological platforms, few individuals fully grasp basic health insurance concepts, UnitedHealthcare's Consumer Sentiment Survey found.

The survey studied Americans' attitudes and opinions about comparison shopping for healthcare, wellness programs, health literacy and customer service. A sample of 1,011 U.S. adults age 18 and older were interviewed via telephone. Supplemental interviews were conducted with a second sample of 1,009 adults.

Here are seven survey findings.

1. Thirty-two percent of survey respondents use websites and mobile apps to compare healthcare prices, up from 14 percent of Americans in 2012.

2. Seven percent of respondents have a complete understanding of plan premiums, deductibles, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximums.

3. Workplace wellness programs are gaining popularity among employers, especially those that implement wearable fitness trackers.

4. Twenty-five percent of respondents said they would rather file annual income taxes than choose a health plan.

5. Seventy-eight percent of respondents said they prefer speaking with live customer service representatives.

6. When asked to estimate how much a knee MRI costs ($700 on average), 61 percent said the cost would be between $800 and $1,000, while seven percent answered correctly.  

7. Fifty-six percent of full-time employees surveyed said they would be interested in wearing a fitness tracker as part of a company wellness program.  

More articles about payer issues:
Top Medicaid, Medicare health plans in 2016
Anthem, Cigna blame each other for violating acquisition agreement
The best and worst commercial health plans in 2016

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