Recognizing that health insurance is among the most complicated and costly products that consumers buy, AIR developed and validated the Health Insurance Literacy Measure (HILM). The publicly available HILM can help identify what aspects of health insurance pose the greatest problems for consumers, which groups need more assistance to enroll and use benefits, and what topics and skills consumer counseling-efforts should focus on.
A Journal of Health Communication article describes the testing and validation of the HILM and an AIR issue brief—A Little Knowledge Is a Risky Thing: Wide Gap in What People Think They Know About Health Insurance and What They Actually Know—describes the survey results used to validate the HILM. According to the findings, younger people, those who use fewer health care services, minorities, people with lower incomes and those with less education generally have more difficulties navigating health insurance. The findings that older people and those who use more services have higher levels of health insurance literacy suggest that people learn about health insurance by doing, so creating tools that simulate real-life examples of how to use insurance are likely to be most effective.
If you are interested in using the HILM, please contact Kim O’Brien at Kobrien@air.org.