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March 19, 2004
45% of Employees Know Their Health Insurance Premiums

Less than half of those with employer-provided health insurance said they "know exactly" how much their health insurance premiums cost, according to the results of an online poll conducted for the The Wall Street Journal Online's Health Industry Edition by the Harris Poll.

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Here's how the polling went on several questions related to health insurance:

  1. "Do you know exactly how much you pay for your monthly health insurance premium?" Of all insured adults--including those with employer-provided insurance, the self-insured, and those receiving Medicare, 46 percent said they knew "exactly." The figure was 45 percent for those with employer-provided insurance.

  2. "Do you know exactly how much you pay each time you visit a doctor?" Those answering yes accounted for 60 percent of all insured adults; among those with employer-provided insurance, it was 72 percent.

  3. "Do you know exactly how you pay each time you buy a drug with a doctor's prescription?" Among all insured adults, 56 percent answered yes; among those with employer-provided insurance, 62 percent answered yes.

  4. "Do you know exactly how much you pay for your deductibles?" Among all insured adults, 50 percent answered yes; among those with employer-provided insurance, 54 percent answered yes.

  5. "How difficult is it to pay health insurance premiums?" Very difficult: 5 percent for all insured, 3 percent for those with employer-based insurance. Somewhat difficult: 12 percent and 11 percent, respectively. Not very difficult: 27 percent and 31 percent. Not at all difficult: 41 percent and 50 percent. Don't pay: 11 percent and 4 percent.

"The good news is that most people do not find it difficult to pay their insurance premiums or out-of-pocket costs. The bad news is that those who find it very difficult ­ up to 20 million adults ­ include many sick, low-income people who really need the care," says Humphrey Taylor, chairman of The Harris Poll at Harris Interactive.

The study was conducted online within the United States between February 23 and 25, 2004 among a nationwide cross section of 2,183 adults, ages 18 years and over. Figures for age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, income and region were weighted where necessary to align with population proportions.

Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online. Harris Interactive estimates the results have a statistical precision of ±3.0 percentage points of what they would be if the entire U.S. adult population had been polled with complete accuracy.

To access a PDF of the poll, with complete data tables, visit http://www.harrisinteractive.com/news/newsletters_wsj.asp.

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