Healthcare News / Benepath, Inc

Insurers Communicating Medicare Information to Clients Fall Short of Clarity

Via: ReleaseWire

Updated 10:12 AM CDT, Wed, March 20,2019

Newtown Sq, PA -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/20/2019 -- Many seniors consider Medicare to be confusing and hard to understand. Moreover, insurance companies make understanding Medicare policies harder with numerous letters and notifications. Insurance jargon is difficult to decipher.

In a new report from VisibleThread, a text analysis company, it was revealed that information created for most Medicare Advantage and Medicare beneficiaries does meet accessibility standards for the average reader. In other words, 86 percent of insurers offering Medicare products send beneficiaries documents that do not meet the federal guidelines in the Plain Writing Act (2010) for clear, understandable communications.

The Plain Writing Act was passed on October 13, 2010 and it mandates that all federal agencies use clear communications that the public can understand and use to assist them in easily finding what they need.

"Put another way, the Act ensures all government communications use plain, clear language, defined as being at or below a 6th grade reading level," explained Clelland Green, RHU, CEO, a company that prides itself on using straightforward language to explain insurance. Currently, roughly 90 percent of documents checked by VisibleThread fall between a 6.2 and 10.6 grade reading level.

U.S. national statistics from 2003 indicate that over 50 percent of Medicare recipients, 65-years-of-age and over, are at or below the basic reading level and over 33 percent of the illiterate population in the nation is over the age of 65, a figure that represents roughly 10.6 million seniors. Much of the written literature received from health insurance companies is too complex for this portion of the population. Approximately two-thirds of printed information sent to Medicare beneficiaries is more difficult to comprehend than Herman Melville's Moby Dick and only slightly less complicated and complex than the Harvard Law Review.

Difficulty reading and comprehending health insurance information has an enormous impact on beneficiaries who lose trust in the industry, and go somewhere else to get better service and an explanation of what plan would work for them. Lack of trust also means that attracting and retaining new customers becomes much more challenging and expensive for the insurer.

"If you plan to market Medicare, make sure the information says what it needs to say clearly, precisely and as simply as possible," said Green. "The reward for taking the time to communicate clearly and effectively is more customer conversions."

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