Consumers uninformed about health insurance, survey says

A survey by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners shows that many consumers are not fully informed about the costs and coverage of their health insurance.

Less than a third of the 1,000 adults surveyed said they were very confident that they understood how health care costs determine their insurance premiums. And only 60 percent of respondents knew they had the right to appeal a denied health insurance claim.

Consumers need to get smart about their insurance, said NAIC president Roger Sevigny, so they can "be confident about their insurance choices and learn to make cost-effective decisions without sacrificing important coverage needs."

To that end, the NAIC offered several tips for insurance customers. The association recommends that people review their insurance policy so they won't be surprised by the cost of a prescription drug or a visit to an out-of-network doctor. Researching the limits and provisions of a policy can help consumers make responsible, informed health decisions.

Also, adds the NAIC, policyholders should take advantage of their employer's open enrollment period to review or change coverage, as needed. And the NAIC noted that consumers can turn to their state department of insurance for guidance or information.

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Posted: November 11, 2009

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