Communications is Key to CDHP Success

August 23, 2006 ( - A new survey by Segal/Sibson has once again confirmed the critical role effective employee communications can play in the launch of a consumer directed health plan (CDHP).

Not only does effective communication contribute to a CDHPs success, communication that is not up to snuff is a factor when CDHPs’ performance lags expectations, according to the survey.

In apparent recognition of this fact, nearly three-quarters of the surveyed employers had already invested more resources into employee educations about CDHPs than they had discussing other benefit programs, the survey report indicated.

More than half of the benefit managers for large companies (500 or more workers) acknowledged to the pollsters that, before they can make true consumer-oriented decisions, their employees have to have access to information about:

  • cost differences among doctors and hospitals,
  • performance and quality of care of physicians and hospitals, and
  • alternatives for treatment, diagnostic procedures and drug therapies.

The survey also pinpointed reasons the larger employers felt CDHPs had only had limited success so far:

  • lack of cost pressure,
  • lack of proof that CDHPs work,
  • a perception that the plans are too complex

“The survey results suggest that the jury is still out on the success and effectiveness of CDHPs,” Segal researchers wrote in the report. “Both employers that offer these plans and those that do not seem very unsure of the success of CDHP’s and were concerned about the availability of information for participants and the complicated nature of those plans. Without extreme cost pressure, only clearly documented long-term savings without dramatic employee pushback will enable CDHPs to become a greater health care presence in the marketplace.”

The Segal/Sibson survey, the second since 2004, covered 126 employers.

A survey summary is here .