Feb 23, 2023

A Terrible (but great!) Guide to Health Insurance

Who could guess that a YouTube video titled "A Terrible Guide..." could rack up 1.7 million views in about 4 months? Hat tip to Tim for passing along the resource to Jessica, begrudgingly NGPF's resident insurance expert. Here's where I think this Terrible Guide could work in your classrooms. 

First, if you want the back story to how Brian David Gilbert came up with the idea for A Terrible Guide to the Terrible Terminology of U.S. Health Insurance, you can check out the NY Times Your Money Advisor column on A Guide to Signing Up for Health Coverage. The TLDR; is that Gilbert was leaving a job with employer-sponsored health care (did you know that employer group plans are the #1 way Americans get health insurance, enrolling more people than Medicaid and Medicare?) and felt overwhelmed by searching for a Marketplace plan. He first used COBRA (another health insurance buzz word he covers in the video) but then created the video with the expertise he gained in researching how to buy on healthcare.gov. 

While the video is quite funny, it doesn't have pure "watch it straight through" entertainment value without giving it some extra oomph, at least in my former-classroom-teacher opinion. Here are some ways to make it a bit meatier. 

IDEA 1: It's long, at slightly over 30 minutes, but the YouTube description has 15 chapters mapped out with breaks in the video at each one, so you can use those to your advantage:

  • Simply skim that chapter list and only assign video sections that fit with learning objectives in your class
  • Let each student self-select the 1-4 (depending on time) chapters they are most curious about or feel they need to review before insurance exam time  
  • Divvy your class up into 13 groups (subtracting out the intro and credits) and have them jigsaw the content together to teach one another the content they didn't watch

IDEA 2: Set your students up on a health insurance buzzwords scavenger hunt. Fold a blank sheet of paper in half, and label the left column TERMS and the right column as DETAILS. Show the video whole class, and as they watch, they should jot any insurance-specific terms they hear in the left column (1 point for each one they record) and details or a definition in the right column (2 additional points for each one they accurately summarize in their own words). You could use this idea to introduce the concepts of health insurance, though I think it would go over better as a review activity once they've already done some learning. 

IDEA 3: Get students doodling. They fold a blank sheet into thirds or fourths (you decide), and their assignment is to create a pictograph, infographic, word cloud, or just plain doodle to fill each of the boxes with what they've learned. They should label each box with the depicted topic, such as "Dental and Vision Insurance" or "HSA, FSA, MSA, HRA." You could choose the topics for them ahead of time, provide the list and ask them to self-select before it starts, or just let them doodle and create as something catches their interest. 

IDEA 4: If you really want to get professional, you could create an Edpuzzle or viewing guide to accompany the video. NGPF hasn't done so, but we'd love to see what you come up with if you're willing to share!

Either before or after watching the video, if you realize that you as the teacher could use a brush-up on your health insurance knowledge, I'd recommend this one-hour On-Demand module What's Up with Obamacare? There's a good one about Disability Insurance, too.

And, if you happen to be teaching your Insurance unit now, why not use an Insurance FinCap Friday to enter the FinCap Friday Frenzy competition, for a chance to win a virtual classroom visit from Yanely and a class set of her forthcoming book!

About the Author

Jessica Endlich

When I started working at Next Gen Personal Finance, it's as though my undergraduate degree in finance, followed by ten years as an educator in an NYC public high school, suddenly all made sense.

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