CDHP Participants More Cost-Conscious

December 18, 2012 ( Adults in a consumer-driven health plan (CDHP) were more likely than those in a traditional plan to exhibit a number of cost-conscious behaviors, according to new research.

Findings from the 2012 Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)/MGA Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey (CEHCS) indicate that, while CDHP, high-deductible health plan (HDHP) and traditional-plan enrollees were about equally likely to report that they made use of quality information provided by their health plan, CDHP enrollees were the most likely to use cost information and to try to find information about their doctors’ costs and quality from sources other than the health plan. In addition, CDHP enrollees were more likely than traditional-plan enrollees to take advantage of various wellness programs, such as health-risk assessments, health-promotion programs and biometric screenings. Financial incentives also mattered more to CDHP enrollees than to traditional-plan enrollees.    

More Americans are continuing to enroll in CDHPs: In 2012, 12% of the population was enrolled in a CDHP, up 3 percentage points from last year, while enrollment in HDHPs was unchanged at 16%. Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s Health Research and Education Program and author of the survey report, noted that “Adults in a CDHP were significantly more likely to report being in excellent or very good health, and they were significantly more likely to exercise.” He added that those in a CDHP and those in a HDHP were significantly less likely to smoke than were adults in a traditional plan—and that CDHP and HDHP enrollees were also more likely than traditional-plan enrollees to be highly educated.    

The 2012 CEHCS also found that a significant portion of the CDHP population reported using a smartphone or a tablet. Among them, as many as one-third reported using an application for health-related purposes. Among those not using an app, about one-half were very interested in using one.     

Full results of the 2012 Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey are published in the December 2012 EBRI Issue Brief, available online at