Do US Health Providers use consistent terminology?

Fergal McGovern

CEO & Founder

3 min read
A stethoscope resting on a bed sheet.

In the US, the affordable care act introduces new rights for consumers. The aim is to make healthcare member communications easier to understand and accessible to all. The act mandates a uniform glossary of terms so that consumers can make fair comparisons between provider health plans.

Some Background:

A few months ago, we analyzed healthcare member communications from the top 8 US Health Insurance companies for consistency. We looked at consistent terminology in their website communications.

Six months on, we wanted to see if things had improved. So we
re-scanned the same sites, this time going much deeper into the site content using VisibleThread’s langauge analysis platform.

To find out more and learn about why you should check for inconsistent terminology on your site, see our slideshare presentation.

Slides Transcription:

  • 1. Do US Health Providers use Consistent Terminology? Is plan terminology on provider websites consistent as mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) ? Fergal McGovern CEO, VisibleThread.
  • 2. Why look at US Health Providers ? The Affordable Care act mandates Consistent terminology: • To make healthcare member communications easier to understand, compare and accessible to all. • Sec. 2715. Development and utilization of uniform explanation of coverage documents and standardized definitions. • “(A) uniform definitions of standard insurance terms and medical terms (consistent with subsection (g)) so that consumers may compare health insurance coverage and understand the terms of  coverage (or exception to such coverage);”
  • 3. Like food labelling, in Healthcare; Standardized terms make sense • Easy to understand – Easy to compare • Same for health care, consistent terms – for example; ‘copayment’, ‘coinsurance’ make choosing and comparing plans much easier
  • 4. We looked at the top 8 US health providers websites 1. Unitedhealth Group 2. Wellpoint Inc. Group 3. Kaiser Foundation Group 4. Aetna Group 5. Humana Group 6. HCSC Group 7. Coventry Corp. Group 8. Highmark Group The providers are ranked by their placement in the “Top 25 Health Insurance Companies” list with data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
  • 5. We analyzed up to 1000 pages per site using VisibleThread • Set scan to analyze up to 1000 pages. Start at root URL, following site links • Did not crawl across domains • Scan conducted in same week – 12th August 2013
  • 6. We tested variations of ‘copayment’ & ‘coinsurance’ We created a very simple dictionary for Bad keywords around ‘copayment’ and ‘coinsurance’. Bad terms in this context are variations that may confuse the reader or are not easily found; ‘co-pay’, ‘copay’ etc.
  • 8. Inconsistent variations of ‘copayment’ and ‘coinsurance’ Inconsistent terminology is present in 6 out of the 8 top US Health Insurance Companies. Takeaway: Each column is a health provider website scan The numbers show the frequency of occurrence The inconsistent terms
  • 9. Humana Group Humana have one of the highest counts of inconsistent terminology usage, using 5 different inconsistent terms. Aetna is the most inconsistent provider with 105 occurances. Inconsistent terminology was found on 7.3% of all of the pages we scanned. Aetna Group The most Inconsistent Providers
  • 10. Aetna – Example content On just one page, variants of ‘coinsurance’ and ‘copayment’ inconsistently used 8 times with four different terms. Takeaway:
  • 11. Why check for Inconsistent Terminology in Web Content ? • Inconsistent terminology makes it harder for potential and current customers to search for your company or it’s products. • People searching for key terms may be confused and may not engage with your company. • Your SEO keyword strategy may be diluted. • Your content may not align with Brand/Corporate Standards, especially for product names and approved/disapproved terms.
  • 12. and for Health Care providers…, even more important • Regulatory driver – ACA (Affordable Care Act) • Deadline 2014. Open market place Oct 1, 2013. • People need to be able to compare easily. • They will go to insurers web pages to find answers • 6 / 8 of the Insurance Companies we looked at do not have consistent terminology as defined within the Affordable Care Act.

  • 13. Worried about Clarity or Inconsistency on your site? Analyze your site for free with VisibleThread Web’s 7-day no obligation free trial. 

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