NU Online News Service, Feb. 20, 12:13 p.m. – Employee Benefit Research Institute, Washington, says Americans are increasingly satisfied with the health care they are receiving but continue to be skeptical about the future of the health care system.

The February issue of EBRI Notes presents findings from the 2001 Health Confidence Survey, which examines a range of health care issues, including Americans’ satisfaction with health care today, their confidence in the future of the health system and Medicare, and their attitudes toward health care reform.

The survey, conducted annually since 1998, is sponsored by EBRI, the Consumer Health Education Council, Washington, and Mathew Greenwald & Associates Inc., Washington.

Many Americans are unaware of national health care issues or may feel that these issues do not affect them, EBRI says.

Respondents’ understanding of managed care health plans continues to decline, and their level of knowledge about public programs, including Medicare, remains low, EBRI says.

Among the survey’s key findings are that 46% of those who have received health care in the last two years say they are extremely or very satisfied with the care they received, up from 39% in 2000. However, only 34% are extremely or very confident that they will be able to get the treatments they need over the next 10 years.

Respondents without insurance are generally willing or able to pay only a small amount toward the cost of health insurance. Five percent are willing to pay less than $25 a month; 9% are willing to pay $25-$49 a month; 29% are willing to pay $50-$99; and 27% are willing to pay $100-$149. Only one in 10 uninsured respondents is willing to pay $200 or more, according to the survey.