Slightly more than one out of five young Americans actually understand important insurance terms such as “premiums,” “deductibles,” “co-payments,” and “co-insurance.”
The list of unknown terms also includes “maximum annual out-of-pocket spending limits,” “provider networks,” “covered services,” “annual limits on services” and “non-covered or excluded services.”
According to the findings published in the journal Health Affairs, 27 percent of non-white or Hispanic respondents expressed confidence in understanding these key insurance terms. Americans with a lack of information about insurance tend not to enroll at the exchanges, both at the federal exchange and the state exchanges.
Overall 60% of Americans struggle with the use of basic insurance terminology, reporting themselves below “very” or “somewhat confident” in their understanding of the above terms.
The least insurance-literate groups, young adult and Hispanic Americans, made up a good portion of the “low-information voter” pool that helped reinstall Barack Obama into the Presidency of the United States in 2012. The same voters also helped Obama become Time magazine’s 2012 Man of the Year.
One paragraph in the Time article celebrating Obama’s achievement stated that Obama’s secret weapon for getting re-elected was “the people who don’t much care” care for politics:
A sizable chunk of the President’s most ardent backers don’t admire either party yet think Obama is somehow above it all, immune to all the horse trading and favor mongering that politics entails. These voters aren’t political in the cable-TV sense of the word. But in 2012, they stuck by Obama.
It is the same “low-information voters” that now are not coming out in throngs to sign up for Obama’s signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act. Obama and his supporters were strongly counting on the turnout of young, healthy voters to bolster the enrollment figures, making the system sustainable for older and more sickly members of society. They perhaps did not count on these voters’ knowing next to nothing about insurance.