Health insurance confusing you? Watch this cartoon video

More than four in 10 uninsured people don’t understand basic health insurance terms, according to a newly released Kaiser Family Foundation survey.

In the survey of 1,292 U.S. adults, more than 40 percent of uninsured people could not correctly define such terms as “premium,” “deductible” and “provider network.”

When given a plan’s cost-sharing requirements, 61 percent of uninsured people could not provide the correct amount an insured person would pay for a hospital stay and 90 percent could not provide the right amount for an out-of-network lab test, according to the survey.

Overall, “most U.S. adults appear to have a pretty firm grasp on basic health insurance terms and how insurance works in general,” according to the survey’s conclusions. “Understanding is lower in some areas, however, including calculating out-of-pocket costs and knowing that an insured person might get care from an out-of-network doctor at an in-network hospital.”

In addition to the uninsured, younger adults and people who haven’t attended college also scored lower. The survey results come days before open enrollment begins for the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces.

“As more people gain insurance under the ACA, these individuals may need extra help navigating their plans, particularly if they are becoming insured for the first time,” according to the findings. “Levels of health insurance literacy may rise as more people have access to, learn to navigate and use health insurance.”


For those looking to learn the health insurance basics, the Kaiser Family Foundation produced the great YouTube video above. It’s narrated by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a surgeon and Foundation trustee.

“Health Insurance Explained – The YouToons Have It Covered,” The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, accessed November 12, 2014, http://youtu.be/-58VD3z7ZiQ

About the author

Scott Goldstein
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Scott is a former Dallas newspaper reporter. His father and two brothers are doctors, so healthcare is his family business.

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Health insurance confusing you? Watch this cartoon video