Open enrollment season for health plans is approaching, and the sense of dread is palpable.

A report released this week by Minnetonka-based UnitedHealthcare finds that roughly 25 percent of people surveyed would rather renew their driver's license, get their teeth cleaned or file income taxes than select health plan benefits.

The nation's largest health insurer also reports that a significant chunk of people surveyed think picking a plan is worse than losing their mobile phone or getting a flat tire on their car.

These and other survey results show why the insurer is trying to simplify the experience of shopping for coverage, according to a statement from UnitedHealthcare.

The company's survey found that more people are using websites and mobile apps to comparison shop for health care.

In terms of customer service, most people would rather speak with a live customer service representative as opposed to e-mail or online chat.

Whether people are buying care or coverage, the survey suggests there's a good bit they don't understand.

The concepts of premiums, deductibles, co-insurance and out-of-pocket maximum are important for people evaluating health insurance options, but only 7 percent of respondents could define all four terms.

The average cost nationwide for an MRI diagnostic exam of the knee joint is $700, but only 7 percent of survey respondents guessed the right answer. Most thought it was between $800 and $1,000.

Only 11 percent correctly priced a knee replacement procedure at $35,000. Most people thought the procedure would cost between $5,000 and $25,000.
 

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