Health Insurance Knowledge SurveyObjective: TRICARE beneficiaries are assumed capable of making educated decisions concerning their health insurance. These decisions may affect the quality of care received, cost, coverage, use of health services, and level of the perceived/satisfaction with health services. The level of health insurance knowledge can vary greatly within a population. In the Medicare population, personal attributes that are associated with insurance knowledge include level of education, income, and experience within the health care system (Lubalin 1999). TMA, HPA&E designed a survey and conducted a pilot study of TRICARE beneficiaries’ knowledge of and satisfaction with their health insurance program. A telephone interview was conducted of a sample of all MHS beneficiaries and included questions to determine their knowledge of fundamental health insurance terms and concepts.
Results: There is a high level of overall satisfaction with TRICARE and TRICARE assistance and benefit information. Beneficiaries use a variety of sources for assistance and information. A sample of MHS beneficiaries were asked by telephone to indicate their satisfaction with TRICARE; 76% indicate they are “Satisfied” or “Very Satisfied”, 13% indicate they are “Dissatisfied” or “Very Dissatisfied”. The top three sources of information about TRICARE are TRICARE Service Centers (26% used), TRICARE pamphlets (20% used), and Retiree Organization Newsletters (13% used). The most frequently cited reason for using a TRICARE Service Center, Web site, or TRICARE pamphlet was for questions about “coverage or benefits” (35%). This compares to use of these sources for questions about a “claim” (21%), “approval for a service” (13%), a “cost” issue (4%), or some other reason (25%). 92% of those who went to a TRICARE Service Center, Web site, or TRICARE pamphlet report that they got the information they needed. 84% report that the information was “easy” or “very easy” to find and understand. 74% of respondents report that they have “most” or “all” of the information they need on TRICARE coverage and costs. While Medicare eligible beneficiaries correctly answered a general question re. TRICARE for Life more often than others under age 65 (90% vs. 61%), they were correct less often on 6 additional questions about MHS benefits and insurance fundamentals.