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Of all the culprits that make it harder for Americans to afford and access health care, the sheer confusion many patients experience when trying to select an insurance plan or when faced with an expensive medical bill may be the most overlooked.

That’s according to a recent survey from research firm Perry Undem, which reveals the deep confusion Americans feel when receiving health care — confusion that could put them on the hook for higher costs.

US health care costs are dire enough as-is, and it’s easy to look at the data on US prices for common procedures compared to the prices in other countries, or to compare the out-of-pocket costs Americans typically must pay for medical services under their insurance plan compared to their peers elsewhere and see the issue. It’s the prices, stupid, as some of the country’s leading health care economists once described the problem.

And the prices are indeed a big part of the US health system’s shortcomings: Research has shown that people will skip necessary care if they have even a […]

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