Third of Americans with health insurance say providers are unclear about what their policies cover
March 8th, 2021, Todd Dupey

Third of Americans with health insurance say providers are unclear about what their policies cover

Data from YouGov Direct shows that two in five are worried about the prospect of out-of-pocket expenses in the event that they catch COVID-19

Data from YouGov Direct in America reveals that over a third of Americans say that – in their personal experience – health insurance providers have been unclear about what their policies cover (37%). Policyholders aged 18-24 are most likely to have transparency issues with their insurers (52%).

Confusion around coverage is a particularly relevant issue following recent media reports have highlighted the financial impact of contracting COVID-19. While major insurers have offered to cover treatment and testing, some Americans have fallen through the gaps – with even insured people racking up considerable out-of-pocket expenses.

Data from YouGov Direct in America reveals that two in five consumers are concerned about the possibility of racking up medical expenses that their insurance providers will not cover if they catch coronavirus (42%). Younger Americans are especially likely to be worried: three in five of those in the 18-24 bracket are concerned about the additional healthcare costs of contracting COVID-19 (60%), compared to half of those aged 25-49 or 50-64 (48% for both groups). These younger consumers may be less likely to require medical treatment, but they may not have enough capital to absorb the financial impact of an unexpected healthcare bill or a lack of income.

It is worth mentioning that three quarters of Americans are broadly happy with the level of coverage offered by their current health insurance provider (75%), even if they are not necessarily clear on what that coverage entails. But there may be opportunities to assuage the concerns of consumers who worry about both the physical and financial effects of catching COVID-19. Again, younger Americans are less likely to fully understand what their plan actually covers, and (perhaps relatedly) have a worse impression of their insurers (with 59% of those aged 18-24 describing themselves as satisfied vs. 75% nat rep).


YouGov polled 1,200 US adults with health insurance. The survey was conducted on February 23, 2021 between 8:47p.m. and 10:22 p.m. Eastern time. The survey was carried out through YouGov Direct. Data is weighted on age, gender, education level, political affiliation and ethnicity to be nationally representative of registered voters in the United States. The margin of error is approximately 3.8% for the overall sample.

Survey conducted with YouGov Direct: a self-service platform that delivers quick-turnaround research and advertising for US businesses. Find out more.