Only 27% of all managers expect consumer-directed health care plans would actually improve employee health and wellness, a survey finds.

Yet the vast majority of top executives and human resources managers think consumer-driven health care plans will help them contain health care costs.

Among chief executives in 283 firms surveyed by OnLine Benefits Inc., Uniondale, N.Y., 83% of chief executives and 78% of chief financial officers thought CDHC plans will help them control medical expenses, while 72% of HR managers and 65% of benefits managers thought the same.

Of all managers surveyed, 33% expect CDHCs will confuse employees, with benefits managers (40%) most concerned and CFOs (22%) least concerned.

Among all respondents, 66% thought employees will need a lot of support in using CDHCs, both when getting started and later. Only 26% thought employees could manage benefits on their own, given the right tools.