Communications Listed as Critical for CDHP Success

March 2, 2006 ( - A key factor in whether the addition of a consumer driven health plan (CDHP) is successful is the level of communication concerning the benefit change, according to a new survey.

A news release from Uniondale, New York-based OnlineBenefits said that a survey conducted for it by Performance Management International (PMI) found that, in addition to the 86% of respondents who mentioned plan communications as an important factor to success, 83% listed medical claim tracking, while 79% cited plan comparison.

Also listed as important tools for successfully implementing a CDHP were:

  • HSA/HRA account tracking – 78%
  • Drug information – 77%
  • Wellness program access – 70%

Respondents also mentioned the following programs also being important:

  • Consumer education – 94%
  • Disease management – 76%
  • Financial planning – 74%
  • Health/wellness incentives – 71%
  • Health risk assessments – 70%
  • Hotline for medical advice – 66%
  • Wellness management – 66%

The highest expectations for CDHPs are financial. CEOs and CFOs (83% and 78%, respectively), and HR managers and benefits managers (72% and 65%, respectively) believe CDHPs will help them contain health care costs.

Both HR and benefits managers see CDHPs increasing employee awareness of health care costs (84% equally). Benefits managers, more than any of their colleagues, expect CDHPs to change employee purchasing behavior (60%). One third of all respondents expect CDHPs to cause confusion for employees, with benefits managers (40%) most concerned and CFOs (22%) least concerned. More than a quarter of all managers (27%) expect CDHPs to improve employee health and wellness.

“As may be expected, we found that CDH is a dynamic, fast growing innovation still in its infancy. While early adopters have proven the benefits of the concept, the vast majority of managers have little more than an awareness of the general concepts,” said Alan Cohen, CEO and co-founder of OnlineBenefits, in the news release “We have no doubt that many more companies will implement CDH in the coming year, despite the steep learning curve ahead of them.”

Two-thirds (66%) of respondents believe employees will need a lot of support, both getting started and ongoing. Only 26% believe employees are capable of managing benefits on their own, given the right tools

Respondents represented 283 US companies in 41 states. For more information, send an e-mail to .