Blog: 68% Say Shopping for Health Insurance is as Bad as Facing Dentist Drill

By Jim Donovan: It’s that time of year again when Americans have to sit down and choose a health insurance plan and a new survey by Bankrate.com shows that many would rather do something else.

More than four in 10 Americans (44%) prefer a high-deductible health insurance plan with a lower monthly premium, according to the Bankrate.com report. Thirty-six percent of Americans would rather choose a low-deductible plan with a higher monthly bill, and nine percent would not choose either of these two options.

Millennials and Americans with household incomes of $30,000-$49,999 are the most likely to prefer a high premium/low-deductible plan, while higher income Americans ($50,000 and up) and those ages 30-64 years-old are more likely to prefer a low premium/high-deductible plan.

“While a low health insurance premium can be very attractive, you don’t want to make the mistake of focusing too much on your monthly payment,” said Doug Whiteman, Bankrate.com insurance analyst. “Especially for older Americans who may require more doctor visits than their younger counterparts, a low premium/high-deductible plan could actually cost more in the long run.”

Despite efforts by the Obama Administration to improve the health insurance exchanges, most Americans still dread shopping for their health insurance. In fact, 82% of Americans who recently shopped for health insurance say that it’s just as bad as or even worse than doing their own taxes. Seventy-five percent say it’s the same or worse than getting the middle seat on a crowded airplane. Even having a tooth filled is better than health plan shopping for some Americans; 23% of those who recently shopped for a plan say it was less enjoyable than facing the dentist’s drill and 45% say it’s just as bad (for a total of 68% who say it’s the same or worse).

“Shopping for health insurance can be complicated, but it’s one of the most important decisions you can make,” said Whiteman. “If you have the wrong coverage or no health insurance at all, you could be just one illness or injury away from massive medical bills.”

“It’s much better to go through the pain of researching and choosing a plan now than it is to figure out how you’re going to pay for an unexpected hospital visit during an emergency.”

Additional Findings:

• 32% of Americans say they feel “more negative” now than they did a year ago about the Affordable Care Act’s impact on their own health care, more than twice as many as the 15% who feel “more positive.”

• Almost half (49%) of Americans want major or minor changes to be made to Obamacare. 26% want to repeal the law completely (down from 30% when the same question was asked in June 2014) and only 16% want to keep the law as-is.

The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI) and can be seen in its entirety here:

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/insurance/health-insurance-poll-1114.aspx

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