HR Pros Still Climbing Learning Curve on CDH Programs

May 27, 2003 ( - Consumer-driven health care may be on the lips of many plan sponsors these days, but some human resource professionals are still struggling with a learning curve.

The American Management Association (AMA) and Council on Education in Management (CEM) surveyed participants at the HR & The Law Conference in March 2003, and found that more than a third (35%) are “unfamiliar” with, and 19% “know very little” about, consumer-driven health care. In fact, only 6% of the 65 respondents said they were “very familiar” with consumer-driven health care, while 14% said they were “moderately familiar.”

According to WorldatWork, the AMA/CEM survey shows that just 8% of represented firms currently offer consumer-driven health-care plans to their employees while 82% do not. Perhaps confirming confusion on the subject, another 10% of those surveyed were unsure if they offered such programs or not. Nearly two-thirds (63%) said they don’t know if such a plan would be appropriate for their company, though roughly a quarter are considering offering a consumer-driven health-care plan, and another 19% have determined the offering is not appropriate.

The HR pros surveyed cited a number of concerns about the programs, including:

  • employees’ ability to manage benefits effectively,
  • training employees to use the benefit plan,
  • long-term sustainability of cost,
  • communicating to employees about the new plan,
  • possibility of increase in catastrophic claims and
  • low enrollment in the plan.

More than half of respondents (51%) said they do not have proper communications and the technology in place to train employees about consumer-driven health care, while 27% said they did – and 22% were unsure.

Nearly half (49%) of respondents were employed at companies with more than a 1,000 workers. The survey participants represented 22 states, with nearly 40% from California.