Americans Satisfied, but Ill-Informed on Health Care

October 10, 2001( - Most Americans are satisfied with the health care they receive, but are concerned about the future, especially about being able to choose their doctor and afford prescription drugs, according to the 2001 Health Confidence Survey.

And while Americans appear to be getting somewhat more knowledgeable about managed health care plans, more than half the population is unfamiliar with managed care, many still remain ill-informed.

The survey, released by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), Consumer Health Education Council (CHEC), and Mathew Greenwald & Associates found that:

  • some 46% of the respondents are extremely or very satisfied with the health care they have received in the past two years, up from 39% in 2000,
  • only 34% of Americans are extremely or very confident that they will be able to get the treatments they need during the next 10 years, and
  • a little more than a fifth is extremely or very confident about treatments once eligible for Medicare

Further Findings

The survey also found that:

  • almost 40% are not confident about affording prescription drugs without financial hardship in the next decade,
  • the same percentage is not confident about being able to afford health care without financial hardship in the same time period, and

In terms of managed care, the survey found that

  • only 19% of Americans say they are extremely or very familiar
  • with managed care, up from 14% in 2000,
  • while 52% say they are not too or not at all familiar with managed care

Employer-Sponsored Health Plans


  • a little over 40% of respondents with employment-based health insurance is very satisfied with their current health plan,
  • one in ten are extremely satisfied with their current health care plan,
  • compared to 7% who are not too satisfied, and
  • less than 5% who are not at all satisfied

The survey also found that less than a third of the sample are extremely or very confident that they could choose the best available health plan for themselves if their employer stopped offering health insurance.

Almost two-thirds of Americans under age 65 prefer the current employment-based system, in which employers choose the plans and pay many of the health insurance costs, over a system of “defined contribution,” in which they would be given the money their employers currently spend on health care to purchase insurance on their own.

The Uninsured

Of those without health insurance, 32% have delayed seeking health care since they lost their coverage, and 22% have decided not to get health care they thought they needed.

Only 31% of those without coverage are aware of low-cost or free insurance programs for uninsured adults or children in their state, down from 37% in 2000.

Survey materials may be accessed at the EBRI Web site