Survey Finds Low Satisfaction with Consumer-Driven Health Plans

December 8, 2005 ( - The EBRI/Commonwealth Fund Consumerism in Health Care Survey found that Americans enrolled in consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) are less satisfied with their coverage than those with comprehensive medical insurance.

The report said that 63% of individuals with comprehensive health insurance were extremely or very satisfied with their health plan, compared with 42% of CDHP enrollees and 33% of High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) participants. Also, about 60% of individuals with comprehensive insurance reported they were extremely or very likely to stay with their current health plan if they had the opportunity to switch, compared with 46% of CDHP enrollees and 30% of HDHP enrollees.

In addition the survey found that, despite similar rates of health care use, individuals with CDHPs and HDHPs are significantly more likely to spend a large share of their income on out-of-pocket health care expenses than those in comprehensive health plans. Forty-two percent of those in HDHPs and 31% of those in CDHPs spent 5% or more of their income on out-of pocket costs and premiums in the last year, compared with 12% of those in more comprehensive health plans.

Because of the costs, individuals with CDHPs and HDHPs were significantly more likely to avoid, skip, or delay health care. Thirty-five percent of individuals with CDHPs and thirty-one percent of individuals in HDHPs reported delaying or avoiding care, compared with 17% of those in comprehensive health plans.

CDHPs and HDHPs do seem to be meeting the goal of making health-care consumers more cost-conscious, though. People in the CDHPs and HDHPs were significantly more likely to say that the terms of their health plans made them consider costs when deciding to see a doctor when sick or fill a prescription, to report that they had checked whether their health plan would cover their costs as well as the price of a service prior to receiving care, and to discuss treatment options and the cost of care with their doctors. However, the data showed that few health plans of any type provide cost and quality information about providers to help people make informed decisions about their health care. The study also found individuals had very low levels of trust in information provided by health plans.

Read the report here .