Health Insurance Literacy among Caregivers of Substance Using Young Adults

Rachel R. Tambling, Carissa D’Aniello, Beth S. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The health-care system in the United States is complex, and consumer understanding of the system is limited. Poor health insurance literacy is common, concerning, and may be associated with financial stress. Caregivers of individuals with chronic, relapsing health conditions such as substance use disorders (SUDs) often report high levels of financial strain including debt they accrued while procuring their loved one’s treatment, and therefore, may be increasingly vulnerable to poor outcomes due to poor health insurance literacy. The aim of the present study was to examine health insurance literacy among caregivers of young adults with an SUD. Information was collected about participants’ understanding of health insurance concepts and vocabulary, amount and type of substance use treatment spending, and financial situation. We calculated percentages, descriptive analyses, and analyses of variance. Results showed significant deficits in health insurance knowledge. Findings suggest that caregivers in this sample have poor health insurance literacy. Results support the importance of education and awareness initiatives in efforts to improve the understanding of affordable health-care treatment. Health insurance literacy is important for caregivers navigating the health-care system on behalf of family members with chronic, relapsing health conditions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAlcoholism Treatment Quarterly
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • financial stress
  • health insurance
  • health insurance literacy
  • informal caregivers
  • substance use disorders


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