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The $125 billion question: How will the ACA affect cancer survivors?
Date:1/23/2014

s opened, many Americans have reported experiencing difficulty in selecting the best insurance plan for them. Massey researcher Andrew Barnes, Ph.D., is currently leading a study that investigates the ACA's Health Insurance Marketplace. He says, "The exchanges rely heavily on consumers' ability to process, comprehend and compare a vast amount of information on numerous insurance plans to make important choices." He has identified factors that may become a challenge for consumers in working with the exchanges, such as the consumer's perceived risk, their comprehension of their insurance terms and plan features and their health literacy.

"Preliminary data from our experiments using mock exchanges suggests approximately 50 percent of uninsured participants are purchasing health insurance in the experiments that, given their health status and utilization history, do not offer adequate coverage," says Barnes.

Barnes has also found that not only patients but doctors are having trouble navigating the exchanges. In another study, he asked 70 medical students and residents to choose the cheapest Medicare plan for a hypothetical patient, "Bill", from a list of three or nine plans. When given three options, two-thirds of the students and residents chose the right policy for Bill, but when given nine options, only one-third chose correctly.

"Our results reinforce the notion of 'choice overload', where the more options we have, the more difficulty we have processing and comparing the attributes of these options and making a decision," said Barnes.

The ACA's impact on safety net hospitals

The impact the ACA will have on safety net providers is another important question being studied. Safety net providers, like Massey, deliver a significant level of health care and other health-related services to the uninsured that they cannot receive elsewhere. In fact, our researchers have found that uninsured and Medicaid patients in Virginia
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Contact: Alaina Schneider
afschneider@vcu.edu
804-628-4578
Virginia Commonwealth University
Source:Eurekalert

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