This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
See Cramer's multi-million dollar portfolio for FREE and get his new book Get Rich Carefully! Learn More

Health Care Reform Will Still Shock America

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Are American consumers ready to take control of their health care decisions?

Health care reform virtually demands they do, but evidence is mounting that consumers are unprepared for the changes scheduled to hit the marketplace next year.

Aflac (AFL), the Columbus, Ga.-based insurance mainstay, has taken the pulse of the health care market and how and if U.S. adults are ready for what's coming.


What the company found should be alarming to health care companies, government officials, and above all, U.S. health care customers.

According to fresh data from the its Workforces Report, released on Thursday:

  • More than half (54%) of workers would prefer not to have greater control over their insurance options.
  • Only 23% of workers are saving money for potential increases in health care costs.
  • 53% of workers fear they may not manage their coverage adequately, leaving their families less protected than they are now.
  • 72% of the workforce hasn't even heard phrase "consumer-driven health care."
  • 75% of workers said they think their employer would educate them about changes to their health care coverage as a result of reform, yet only 13% of employers said educating employees about health care reform was important to their organization

Maybe that's why Aflac says Americans face an "uphill climb" with changes in the nation's health care system starting next year.

The firm says consumers are going to have to change the way they look at health care; the way they choose a plan; they way they prepare to pay for care (which, as it has been for decades, will continue to rise after reform, Aflac says); and the way they adhere to regulations that will change significantly.

The report, which tracked responses from 2,500 U.S. employees and 1,900 workplace managers, says that while Americans shouldn't be blamed for being unprepared for health care reform, blunders in dealing with those changes will fall on them, and them alone.


"It may be referred to as 'consumer-driven health care,' but in actuality, consumers aren't the ones driving these changes, so it's no surprise that many feel unprepared," said Audrey Boone Tillman, executive vice president of Corporate Services at Aflac. "The bottom line is if consumers aren't educated about the full scope of their options, they risk making costly mistakes without a financial back-up plan."

The study notes that 89% of health care consumers opt for the same health care plans every year, but don't understand what's in those plans. Furthermore, 76% say they are largely unaware of how so-called health care exchanges -- which are the foundation of health car reform -- work.

Stock quotes in this article: AFL 

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
DOW 16,408.54 -16.31 -0.10%
S&P 500 1,864.85 +2.54 0.14%
NASDAQ 4,095.5160 +9.2910 0.23%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto
Advertising Partners

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs