Healthcare Consumerism, Deductibles and Copayments, and HSAs — More from HUMANA

Humana’s “educational” YouTube video series expanded this week with three new videos that range from benign, to strangely confusing, to something else.

The first video, “Deductibles and Coinsurances,” does a reasonable job of explaining the different ways people can pay their share of healthcare costs after the monthly premium, i.e. what is a copay, and how a deductible is applied.  The one area where they could have been clearer is explaining that a co-pays and coinsurance both are the portion that a patient pays for healthcare services, but that a co-pay is a fixed dollar amount, while coinsurance is a percentage of the costs of the service, i.e. $25 v. 20%

The second video, “Health Savings Accounts,” tries to describe a fundamentally confusing alphabet of different insurance terms (i.e. HSAs, FSAs, HRAs, HDHP, and CSHPs) that all involve pots of money that individuals may use to pay for health care services.  Unfortunately, I don’t think there was any way in a 3 minute video they could really make it clear how these programs operate and work together as part of an individual’s health insurance program.

The third video, “Healthcare Consumerism,” is the kicker the other two videos lead up to – and it is the one with real problems.  While the first is straightforward, and the second is less than fully illuminating, this video is somewhat misleading because if prolongs the myth that people can make good health decisions on their own if they just have more information.  [It does this by comparing healthcare decisions to buying a rake.]

While giving individuals more information can help them make better decisions in some areas, (such as should be the case with nutrition), for most serious healthcare situations this is not true.  And it is becoming less true as medical diagnostic and treatment options become more sophisticated.  In addition, it dramatically undervalues the knowledge of physicians and other healthcare professions by disminishing the importance of their role as “learned intermediaries” who function to help patients make healthcare decisions.  And lastly, it summarily declares that “Consumer Directed Health Plans are good solutions” – [see time code 2.00 in the video] – and concludes that CDHPs make people an “active consumer instead of a passive patient” – an assertion that implies that “active” (i.e. smart) people will have CDHPs, while “passive” people will settle for other types of insurance.

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  1. Pingback: Health Policy and Communications Blog » Blog Archive » Humana on Health Reform

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