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Most Americans feel prepared to choose health insurance next year
By Insure.com staff

Despite media reports that Americans are largely confused by their health insurance choices next year, a new survey found that most Americans are confident in their ability to choose health coverage. Express Scripts, which manages prescription-drug benefit plans, conducted the survey.

Among those who now purchase health insurance on their own, 60 percent say they're sure they're ready to make the right choices. Among those who are uninsured, 53 percent are confident they'll be able to select the best health plan for themselves and their families.

"Given some of the complexities surrounding health care reform changes and the new options being made available to Americans, it is encouraging to learn that the majority of those being most affected are confident they will be able to navigate the system successfully," Julie Huppert, Express Scripts vice president, health care reform, said in a press statement.

However, the survey also showed the need for educating those consumers who are unprepared, Huppert said.

Starting next year, the Affordable Care Act will require almost all Americans to have health insurance. Health insurance marketplaces, known as exchanges, will open for business, and insurers will no longer be able to discriminate against applicants with medical conditions.

People ages 45 to 64 tend to be more confident about their ability to choose a plan than those ages 18 to 44, with the exception of the uninsured, where the younger group is slightly more confident they will make the right choice. Women, meanwhile, tend to feel more ready for the task than men, with the exception again being the uninsured, where men and women are almost equal in their certainty that they can handle the decision.

The survey also examined Americans' attitudes toward prescription-drug plan preferences. Most respondents, particularly the long-term uninsured, said they were willing to pay a $100 deductible for prescription drugs. Although deductibles are common for medical insurance, they are relatively rare among drug benefit plans.

The poll also found that many consumers are open to an in-network and out-of-network pharmacy system similar to the network-based approach used in medical care. A network approach that would require higher copayments for medications purchased at pharmacies that are not part of the plan's preferred network.

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