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Californians Ambivalent About DC Health Plans

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NU Online News Service, Feb. 24, 2:55 p.m. – Only 14% of California residents have some knowledge of the new “defined-contribution” or “consumer-directed” health plans, according to results of a survey by California Health Decisions, Orange, Calif.

Researchers commissioned by the nonprofit group found that 46% of the 800 California residents surveyed found the idea of the plans “very” or “somewhat” appealing, and that 46% found the idea “not too” or “not at all” appealing.

The typical defined-contribution health plan combines high-deductible health insurance with Web-based consumer information and personal accounts that plan participants can use to cover the cost of routine medical expenses.

The ability to use the personal account funds to pay for dental and vision care appealed to 80% of the California residents surveyed, California Health says.

Only 35% of the respondents were willing to accept higher deductibles in exchange for lower premiums, but 65% were willing to pay higher fees to see an out-of-network doctor.