Current members of “consumer-driven health plans” may be having more trouble understanding the plans than CDHP members had a year ago.
Researchers at the Employee Benefit Research Institute, Washington, and the Commonwealth Fund have published statistics supporting that conclusion in a summary of results from a Web-based survey of 1,506 U.S. adults ages 18 to 64 with traditional comprehensive health insurance.
The researchers also included 722 members of the 18-64 age group who had a combination of high-deductible coverage and personal health accounts, such as health savings accounts or health reimbursement arrangements.
Another sample included 930 members of the 18-64 age group with high-deductible health insurance and no HRAs or HSAs.
EBRI and the Commonwealth Fund changed survey firms between 2005 and 2006 to Synovate, a unit of Aegis Group P.L.C., London, from Harris Interactive, Rochester, N.Y., and differences in the demographics of the firms’ Web survey participants may affect comparisons of the 2005 and 2006 results.
Researchers at the U.S. Government Accountability Office warned that when they conducted their own member satisfaction study, satisfaction is usually lower for new plans of any kind than for well-established plans.
Only about 1.3% of insured U.S. adult workers appear to have personal health accounts, and only 21% of those have had personal health accounts for 3 years or longer, the EBRI and Commonwealth Fund researchers report.
But the percentage of health account plan members who say they are “extremely or very likely to stay with current health plan if had the opportunity to change” has fallen to 36% this year, from 46% in 2005, and the percentage who say they are “extremely or very satisfied with health plan” has fallen to 37%, from 41%.
Satisfaction may be falling in part because the health account plan members say they are feeling more confused: The percentage who “strongly or somewhat agree that health plan is easy to understand” has fallen to 45%, from 54%, even though the health account plans have been on the market 1 more year.