The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and Greenwald & Associates have released their findings on the impact of high deductible health plans (HDHP) on the behavior and attitudes of health care consumers. The findings show that consumers of HDHP are more engaged with their plan than those not in a HDHP, and that they have many characteristics equated with greater financial stability.
For instance, they have higher incomes and education than those enrolled in more traditional health coverage. Nearly 30% of those in a HDHP had a household income of $150,000 or more, compared to 17% of enrollees in more traditional health coverage. Forty-five percent of HDHP enrollees have a college degree and another 27% have a graduate degree. They are also more likely to report being in very good health.
Thirty-nine percent of those in a HDHP sought out cost information in the past two years before receiving care. This is true for only 25% of those in a traditional health care plan.
Fifty-five percent of those in a HDHP have checked whether the plan would cover care or medication. This is true for only 41% of those in a traditional plan. They are also more likely to have checked the quality rating of a doctor or hospital before receiving care (41% versus 32%), to have asked for a generic drug instead of a brand name (41% versus 32%) and to have talked to their doctor about prescription options and costs (37% versus 31%).
Furthermore, they are more likely to have asked their doctor about less costly prescriptions (31% versus 22%), to have used an online cost-tracking tool provided by the health plan (25% versus 14%) or to have developed a health care budget (25% versus 14%).
One-third of HPDP enrollees delayed health care in the past year because of cost. This is true for only 18% of those in a traditional plan. They are also more likely to have participated in a wellness program. HDHP enrollees are more likely to report that their employer offered biometric screenings, financial wellness resources and reimbursement for all or part of fitness club memberships. However, they are less likely to report that they do not have any financial concerns.
EBRI and Greenwald & Associates defined HDHPs as those plans with deductibles of at least $1,350 for individuals and at least $2,700 for family coverage. They say that the percentage of individuals enrolled in such plans increased by 17.4% in 2007 to 46% in 2018. And nearly half of those in a HDHP are in a plan paired with either a health savings account (HSA) or health reimbursement arrangement (HRA).
EBRI and Greenwald & Associates’ findings are based on an online survey conducted by Ipsos among 2,010 privately insured adults between the ages on 24 and 61. Of these participants, 1,235 were in a HDHP and 775 in a more traditional health plan.