U.S. employers seem to have mixed feelings about the new consumer-driven health plans.[@@]

Researchers in the Chicago office of Deloitte Consulting L.L.P. have published figures supporting that conclusion in a report on a recent survey of 314 large and midsize companies. More than 60 of the plans now offer CDHPs.

Although 52% of the managers whose companies have CDHPs agreed that the new plans “have complex and confusing designs,” 70% said the CDHPs “are well-received by some, but not all, employees,” and 42% argued that the plans help sick employees as well as healthy employees.

The managers believe the CDHPs are starting to work: 66% said the plans really do “make employees pay more for costly providers,” and 46% said the plans seem to “reward efficient providers,” according to the Deloitte researchers.

At the employers that have had CDHPs in place for more than 1 year, 80% saw CDHP enrollment increase between last year and this year, the researchers write.

About 43% of the participating managers whose companies do not offer CDHPs today said their companies are reviewing the possibility of adding CDHPs or already have decided to offer CDHPs in the near future.

Steven Kraus, a Deloitte benefits expert in Chicago, says CDHPs continue to evolve.

Last year, the message was “this still is managed care at the core,” Kraus says. “What happened last year was also much more robust content tools.”

This year, Kraus says, the CDHP providers are talking more about disease-management programs and other efforts to help plan members who already have health problems to do a better job of managing their care.