About 15% of the U.S. population, representing 26 million individuals with private insurance, is currently enrolled in a consumer-driven health plan (CDHP), according to the 2014 EBRI/Greenwald & Associates Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey (CEHCS).
The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) noted that about 11% were enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), and 74% were enrolled in more traditional health insurance coverage. CDHPs are a combination of health coverage with high deductibles (at least $1,250 for individual coverage in 2014) and tax-preferred savings or spending accounts that workers and their families can use to pay their out-of-pocket health care expenses. Among individuals enrolled in CDHPs, 57% had a health savings account (HSA) or health reimbursement arrangement (HRA), while 43% were enrolled in HSA-eligible health plans but had not opened an account.
The 2014 CEHCS finds that CDHP enrollees were more cost conscious in their decision making than those in traditional plans. Specifically, those in a CDHP were more likely than those with traditional coverage to say that they had checked whether the plan would cover care; asked for a generic drug instead of a brand name; talked to their doctors about prescription options and costs; checked the price of a service before getting care; asked a doctor to recommend less costly prescriptions; talked to their doctors about other treatment options and costs; developed a budget to manage health care expenses; and used an online cost-tracking tool provided by 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. In addition, financial incentives mattered more to CDHP enrollees than to traditional-plan enrollees.
There is also some evidence that adults in a CDHP were more likely than those in a traditional plan to be engaged in their choice of health plan. Specifically, those in a CDHP were more likely than those with traditional coverage to say that they had attended a meeting where health plan choices were explained; consulted with their employer’s human resources (HR) staff about health plan choices; and were more likely to have consulted with an insurance broker to understand plan choices.
The full report, “Findings from the 2014 EBRI/Greenwald & Associates Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey,” is published in the December EBRI Issue Brief and is available online at www.ebri.org.