‘TIt’s open enrollment season.from before November 1st the launch of the annual open enrollment period, state health insurance marketplace advertising engines, and federal exchanges; healthcare.gov, it’s getting exciting.The nation’s uninsured rate has fallen to 7.7% — was the worst ever. on the other hand, Celebrating this success Despite the benefits, more than 25 million Americans remain uninsured.
The misery of the uninsured is well documented.they are 3 times more likely Costs can lead you to go without the care you need, making you more likely to struggle with your weight. High medical debt rate.Mary Lou Retton, Olympic gymnast who recently won a gold medal released from the hospital After fighting for his life in the ICU, no health insurance.her family had to crowdfunding To collect money for her treatment. But unlike Mary Lou Retton, most people can’t collect hundreds of thousands of dollars from admiring fans when they’re sick.
In the United States, insurance companies and the government promote the purchase of insurance as a rational economic choice. They tell people that health insurance is affordable and that people should buy insurance to protect themselves and their families. We know that because we looked at a sample of marketplace ads from the past five years. 96% of them The theme of economic self-interest was central.
But for some people, including many who are currently healthy, that story is not true. One-fifth A growing percentage of uninsured adults say they don’t need or want insurance.Young adults especially may feel this way. It’s almost not worth buying insurance. Some people may be unreasonably optimistic about continued health and may be wrong about that. Mary Lou Retton may have been one of those people.
But others might too right Because they think it’s bad for them to pay for health insurance. Protections under the Affordable Care Act are in place to ensure that insurance covers people with pre-existing conditions and doesn’t charge them more than healthy people. widely popular Across the political spectrum, healthy people end up subsidizing the costs of sick people. The essence of insurance is to spread risk.
As health policy researchers, we wondered what would happen if we changed the script. why people (and especially can You must have health insurance (that you can afford). Instead of appealing, economic self-interest, spoke of the moral reasons for purchasing health insurance while appealing to a commitment to American values. After all, Americans broadly support the idea that sicker people should be compensated at the same rate as healthy people.
Many Americans are concerned about the environment and therefore choose green products. Are Americans able to buy health insurance because they care about each other? Or will we at least have health insurance so we don’t have to unfairly exploit others or rely on charity when we get sick?
In a series of experiments, we found that uninsured Americans were more likely to buy insurance if the explanation was to actually help others, to help the community, or that it was a matter of personal responsibility. I tested whether.
The results were amazing. in one experiment, purchased 5.6 million ad impressions on Google during the 2021 open enrollment period. We found that ads using the “Help the Community” frame were more popular than traditional ads focused on cost-effectiveness. This was true across voters across the political spectrum, not only in Democratic strongholds but also in Republican counties. They also found that ads that emphasize personal responsibility, another moral theme, were clicked 30% more often than economically oriented ads, especially among English speakers. This experiment suggests that millions of Americans could start buying insurance by switching to a moral framework.
with follow up experiment, sent postcards and emails to more than 16,000 uninsured people, but individuals received mixed messages. We then tracked which messages resulted in the highest registration rates. We found that all the outreach resulted in a significant increase in enrollment, suggesting that exchanges may not be doing enough. Similar to the online experiment, we found that personal responsibility and community messages were most effective in encouraging people to buy insurance (18.5% change compared to no outreach). Extrapolating our results to a larger uninsured population means that 250,000 additional households could gain insurance through the use of moral messages.
Even people who already have insurance can run into uninsured problems.public funds Offset the cost of uncompensated care by health care providers for the uninsured, Therefore, the higher the uninsured rate, the more taxes are paid to health care providers when the uninsured receive care they cannot afford. The more people take out insurance, the more lower insurance rates For everyone.
Perhaps it’s time for the people who sell health insurance to be honest.do not have everyone You should get insurance because it is a good deal. If you are young and healthy, you may be subsidizing the cost of health insurance for someone who is older and sicker. But maybe by appealing to our morals rather than just our wallets, more people could be targeted anyway.
Wendy Netter Epstein is a professor of law and associate dean for research at DePaul University School of Law. She is also co-dean of the Mary and Michael Jaharis Health Law Institute at DePaul. Christopher Robertson is Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives at Boston University School of Law, Professor of Health Law, Policy, and Management at Boston University School of Public Health, and author of Exposed: Why Our Health Insurance Exists I am the author of ‘Nonoka’.Imperfections and what can be done about them”