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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, Clarity Grader

Why look at US Health Providers ?

The Affordable Care act mandates Consistent terminology:

To make health insurance policies 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);

Like food labelling, in Health Care; 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

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.

We analyzed up to 1000 pages per site using Clarity Grader

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

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.

Inconsistent variations of copayment and coinsurance

The inconsistent terms
The numbers show the frequency of occurrence
Each column is a health provider website scan


Inconsistent terminology is present in 6 out of the 8 top US Health Insurance Companies.

The most Inconsistent Providers Aetna Group

Aetna is the most inconsistent provider with 105 occurances. Inconsistent terminology was found on 7.3% of all of the pages we scanned.

Humana Group
Humana have one of the highest counts of inconsistent terminology usage, using 5 different inconsistent terms.

Aetna Example content


On just one page, variants of coinsurance and copayment inconsistently used 8 times with four different terms.

Why check for Inconsistent Terminology in Web Content ?

Inconsistent terminology makes it harder for potential and current customers to search for your company or its 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.

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.

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