The University of Maryland Extension had developed a unique program designed to deliver health insurance education to consumers. Just as Americans were beginning to understand how to work with Obamacare, congress is working on a replacement, the American Healthcare Act. It’s not surprising that health insurance is confusing to most people. In fact, nearly half of all adults say they can’t understand or act on the health information they get, and that includes information on how to find and use health insurance.

Now it it’s third year, trained educators have delivered the program through workshops in seven states. And the results show that the program is really making a difference.

  • Participants saw a 25% increase in their confidence in making good health insurance decisions
  • Participants saw a 15% increase in the likelihood they would take a positive action – like comparing insurance plans or researching if they could get cheaper medications

After review of the pre- and post-surveys and other data, the program administrators crafted a strong hypothesis:

“If confusion could be reduced and confidence and capability increased, consumers would be able to make Smart Choice health insurance decisions.”

Features of the program include:

  • Explaining key terms that may be confusing to consumers, such as “copayment”, “deductible”, “HSA” and “PPO”
  • Showing consumers how to make “good guesses” on what their out-of-pocket health expenses may be so they can better prepare and plan
  • Detailing how consumers can save for health expenses using Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Savings Accounts
  • Helping consumers understand the benefits and advantages of different types of insurance plans and choose the right plan for them
  • Educating consumers about where to get reputable health insurance information and which sources shouldn’t be trusted

New opportunities are being explored to expand the program even further. Through technology even more consumers could benefit from the education.

For more information, visit the University of Maryland Extension web site.