Enrollment in Consumer-Driven Health Plans Grew in 2011

December 13, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Enrollment in consumer-driven health plans continued to grow in 2011. 

According to the 11th annual EBRI/MGA Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey (CEHCS), in 2011, 7% of the population was enrolled in a consumer-driven health plan (CDHP), compared with 5% a year ago.

Overall, 15.8 million adults ages 21-64 with private insurance were either in a CDHP or a high-deductible health plan that was eligible for a health savings account (HSA) this year, according to the survey. When their children are included, about 21 million individuals with private insurance, representing about 12% of the market, were either in a CDHP or an HSA- eligible plan, the survey found.

As previous versions of the CEHCS have found, the 2011 survey suggests that people who are enrolled in consumer-driven plans tend to have different characteristics than those in traditional health plans. They were somewhat more cost conscious; were more likely to try to find information about their doctor’s cost and quality from sources other than the health plan; and were more likely to take advantage of a health risk assessment. However, they were no more likely than those in traditional plans to participate in health promotion programs.

Other key findings from the survey include:

•  Individuals in CDHPs were more likely than those with traditional coverage to exhibit a number of cost-conscious behaviors. They were more likely to say they had checked whether their plan would cover care; asked for a generic drug instead of a brand name; talked to their doctor about treatment options and costs; talked to their doctor about prescription drug options and costs; developed a budget to manage healthcare expenses; checked the price of a service before getting care; and used an online cost-tracking tool.

•  CDHP enrollees were more likely than traditional plan enrollees to report they had the opportunity to fill out a health risk assessment, and they were also more likely to report they had access to a health promotion program. CDHP enrollees were also more likely to report they had been offered a cash incentive or reward to participate in a wellness program when a program was offered. HDHP enrollees were less likely to report having the opportunity to fill out a health risk assessment and to have access to a health promotion program.

•  When it comes to participating in a wellness program, CDHP enrollees were more likely than traditional plan enrollees to take advantage of the health risk assessment, but not the health promotion program. Financial incentives were more a factor for CDHP enrollees than for traditional plan enrollees when it came to participating in wellness programs.

•  A significant portion of the population reported using a smartphone, and one in five reported using a tablet. Among them, about one-quarter reported using an app for health-related purposes. Among those not using an app, nearly one-half were interested in using one.

 

The 2011 EBRI/MGA Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey is based on an online survey of 4,703 privately insured adults ages 21–64. Sponsored by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and Mathew Greenwald & Associates, the full report is published in the December 2011 EBRI Issue Brief, “Findings From the 2011 EBRI/MGA Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey,” and is available at www.ebri.org

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