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Factors Associated With Health Insurance Literacy

Proficiency in Finding, Selecting, and Making Appropriate Decisions

Adepoju, Omolola; Mask, Andrew; McLeod, Alexander, PhD

Journal of Healthcare Management: March-April 2019 - Volume 64 - Issue 2 - p 79–89
doi: 10.1097/JHM-D-18-00021

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This study set out to determine individuals’ proficiency in finding, selecting, and making appropriate health insurance decisions for a positive healthcare experience. Primary data were collected by means of a cross-sectional online survey of 1,469 adults in the United States. Using separate multivariate regression models, we examined the relationships between patient characteristics and an individual’s ability to choose, compare, manage, and use health insurance plan benefits. Across all four constructs, younger individuals exhibited significantly lower health insurance literacy. Compared to males, females reported lower levels of health insurance literacy. However, females were better able to compare health insurance benefits and efficiently use health plan benefits. Respondents who reported private insurance coverage or being uninsured had significantly lower health insurance literacy levels. We concluded that health insurance literacy is a salient issue that affects optimal healthcare use. Identifying characteristics associated with limited health insurance literacy is useful in guiding efforts to address health insurance literacy among healthcare consumers.

assistant professor, School of Health Administration, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas

School of Health Administration, Texas State University

assistant professor, Department of Health Information Management, Texas State University

For more information about the concepts in this article, contact Dr. Adepoju at

Dr. Adepoju is now employed by Optum.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s website (

© 2019 Foundation of the American College of Healthcare Executives
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