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Do You Speak Health Insurance? It's Not Easy

"We've created a monster, and it's not surprising to me that there's literacy issues," says Kathleen Call, a professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Mark Zdechlik / Minnesota Public Radio

"We've created a monster, and it's not surprising to me that there's literacy issues," says Kathleen Call, a professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.
Mark Zdechlik / Minnesota Public Radio

 shots, Health News by NPR, December 29, 2015
by Mark Zdechlik

Solicit opinions about health insurance and you're almost guaranteed to find consensus: It's mystifying and irritating.

"It just seems like a lot of the buzzwords are intended to just complicate the whole thing and make it more expensive," says David Turgeon, 46, who's sitting in a Minneapolis mall eating lunch.

Enrollment season rolls on, and people shopping on HealthCare.gov and the other marketplaces have until Jan. 31 to decide on a plan.

But even people trying to pick from their employers' options can find the process complicated and difficult to understand. The jargon can be overwhelming, and it can lead people to make costly mistakes or to avoid care altogether.

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