CDHP Enrollment Growing Slowly

December 10, 2010 ( – The ranks of people enrolled in either a consumer-driven health plan (CDHP) or a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) reached 22 million in 2010, according to an Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) report

The EBRI report found that enrollment in CDHPs rose to 5% of the privately insured population (5.7 million people) in 2010, up from 4% in 2009. Enrollment in HDHPs increased to 14% of the privately insured population (17.2 million people) in 2010, up from 13% in 2009.

“The number of people who are enrolled in so-called ‘consumer-driven’ private health care plans is slowly growing,” said Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s Health Research and Education Program and author of the report, in an EBRI news release. “And as employers continue to look for ways to manage health care cost increases, they are turning to these account-based plans.”

EBRI’s survey finds that enrollees in CDHPs and HDHPs exhibit more cost-conscious behaviors than those in traditional health care plans, such as checking to see whether the plan would cover specific care (CDHPs 53 %, HDHPs 53%, traditional 47%), and asking for a generic drug instead of a brand name (CDHP 51%, HDHP 50%, traditional 44%).

Additional findings included:

  • CDHP enrollees are more engaged in either a health risk assessment or health promotion program: Three-quarters of CDHP enrollees participated in a health risk assessment program, compared with 60 % of traditional plan enrollees. Similarly, 52 % of CDHP enrollees participated in a health promotion program, compared with 41 % of traditional plan enrollees.
  • Financial incentives are not a factor, but the use of health information technology (HIT) is: Financial incentives were no more a factor for CDHP enrollees than for traditional plan enrollees when it came to participating in wellness programs. However, CDHP and HDHP enrollees were more likely than traditional plan enrollees to choose a doctor based on his or her use of health information technology (HIT). Generally, about one-half or more of CDHP and HDHP enrollees are likely to choose a doctor based on his or her use of HIT, whereas between 40%−50% of traditional plans enrollees are likely to do so.
  • In 2010, 9% of adults enrolled in CDHPs, 12% in HDHPs, and 15% of those with traditional coverage smoked cigarettes. People in CDHPs were also more likely to exercise in all years of the survey except 2010, and they were less likely to be obese compared with adults enrolled in a traditional health plan in some years, including 2009 and 2010.

The data is based on the 2010 Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey (CEHCS), which analyzed the behavior and attitudes of 4,509 adults ages 21–64 with private health insurance coverage. The survey is conducted by EBRI and Mathew Greenwald and Associates.

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