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Oct. 6, 2020

Nearly Half of Consumers Don’t Understand How Their Health Insurance Would Pay for Coronavirus Testing and Treatment, According to A New NAIC Survey

Survey Puts Spotlight on Health Insurance Knowledge Gap as Consumers Deal with Pandemic

WASHINGTON (October 6, 2020) - A new survey from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) shows that, overall, 47% of consumers surveyed say they don’t understand what their health insurance plans will pay for when it comes to coronavirus testing and treatment. And of the respondents who have been tested or treated for coronavirus, 34% of them say they received a bill that they expected their health insurance to cover.  

Survey results point to shortcomings by insurance companies, insurance regulators, and health care providers in making cost information clear to consumers. The health insurance knowledge gap goes beyond the pandemic to understanding basic health insurance plan features. Nearly one-third (32%) of consumers surveyed didn’t know how much their health insurance deductibles were and 25% weren’t aware of their co-pay amounts. The knowledge gap is even wider among younger consumers: 45% of those ages 18 to 29 didn’t know their deductibles and 39% didn’t know their co-pay amounts. 

For younger respondents, there is also confusion around what these basic health insurance terms mean. Over half (51%) of surveyed 18-29 year-olds could not accurately define what a deductible is and almost half (48%) couldn’t correctly define what a copay is. 

To learn about how your health plan's deductible works, read our Consumer Insight. 

Survey Methodology 

NAIC’s Center for Insurance Policy and Research surveyed more than 2,007 consumers online between June and July 2020. 


About the National Association of Insurance Commissioners

As part of our state-based system of insurance regulation in the United States, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) provides expertise, data, and analysis for insurance commissioners to effectively regulate the industry and protect consumers. The U.S. standard-setting organization is governed by the chief insurance regulators from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. Through the NAIC, state insurance regulators establish standards and best practices, conduct peer reviews, and coordinate regulatory oversight. NAIC staff supports these efforts and represents the collective views of state regulators domestically and internationally.