Americans Support Guaranteed Benefit Healthcare

June 7, 2002 ( - Most insured Americans favor guaranteed benefit health insurance policies and do not want to switch to an employer-based defined contribution plan, a survey showed.

Those already insured are not optimistic about defined contribution plans in which the employer would give a fixed amount of money so  employees can buy their own health insurance, according to a survey sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation, National Public Radio and Harvard University.


Only 13% of those currently receiving employer-based insurance would rather buy a policy themselves, the survey reports.


Much Harder


Many thought that it would be much harder to get good health insurance through a defined contribution plan and said employers added value to the current system.  78% of those with employment-based coverage said purchasing their own insurance would make it harder to get a good price. 


Other problems they imagined would be:

  • trying to find and keep insurance when they’re sick
  • handle administrative issues
  • and find a high quality plan.


“Employers should be aware of these anxieties and concerns when they evaluate possible new models of coverage,” said Molly Ann Brodie, vice president and director of research at KFF.


Unaware of Costs


Although health insurance costs have ballooned in the last few years, insured Americans did not appear to experience the increases because their employers generally pay about two-thirds of those costs.. 



  • 54% of those insured said their premiums have increased in the last few years
  • and 45% said their co-payments and deductible costs had risen.

In both groups, less than 20% reported large increases.  Those insured are not in favor of changing the current system since their employers are absorbing the bulk of the cost increases.


Health insurance was an incentive to keep about a quarter of respondents at jobs longer than they would have liked, the survey reported.  Of the 1,200 survey respondents, 24% of those who earn more than $25,000 yearly said that they stayed at a job simply to keep their health insurance. This figure was 31% for those respondents who made less than $25,000 per year.