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Building Health Insurance Literacy: Evidence from the Smart Choice Health Insurance™ Program

Author

Listed:
  • Suzanne Bartholomae

    (Iowa State University)

  • Mia B. Russell

    () (University of Maryland Extension)

  • Bonnie Braun

    (University of Maryland)

  • Teresa McCoy

    (University of Maryland Extension, University of Maryland)

Abstract

Abstract With the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010, the health insurance literacy of Americans became a critical issue. In response, a consumer education program was created and tested by university researchers and educators associated with Cooperative Extension. This article draws extensively on the emerging literature on health insurance literacy and on data from participants in the Smart Choice Health Insurance™ program. The intent of the study was to understand socio-demographic and environmental variables that predict initial health insurance literacy and gains in health insurance literacy. A standardized instrument measuring health insurance literacy was used to collect the data. Multivariate analysis showed higher income consumers demonstrated greater initial health insurance literacy scores compared to middle income consumers, whereas younger, male and lower educated consumers reported lower initial health insurance literacy. After participating in the Smart Choice Health Insurance™ program, consumers who made greater gains in their health insurance literacy tended to be female, higher income, and consumers residing in states that showed supportiveness of the ACA. The findings highlight the importance of considering sociodemographic characteristics in program design and delivery, as well as how contextual issues, such as the political environment, might impact the delivery of educational efforts. Findings from the analyses help inform ways to adapt and tailor educational opportunities that focus on health insurance literacy for a range of consumers.

Suggested Citation

  • Suzanne Bartholomae & Mia B. Russell & Bonnie Braun & Teresa McCoy, 2016. "Building Health Insurance Literacy: Evidence from the Smart Choice Health Insurance™ Program," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 140-155, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jfamec:v:37:y:2016:i:2:d:10.1007_s10834-016-9482-7
    DOI: 10.1007/s10834-016-9482-7
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Manouchehr Mokhtari, 2016. "Affordable Health Care," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 135-139, June.

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