Researchers at the Employee Benefit Research Institute have found data hinting that low-income members of traditional health plans may be facing fewer cost-related health care delays.
The data appear in health care consumer engagement survey.
Researchers polled 2,007 U.S. adults ages 21 to 64 through the Internet in August. All participants said they have private insurance through an employer-sponsored group plan or an individual or family plan they have bought themselves.
The researchers compared participants in traditional health plans, “consumer driven” high-deductible health plans that include personal health accounts, and high-deductible health plans without health accounts.
The researchers found, for example, that the health account plans were more likely than the other types of plans to offer health risk assessments, but that traditional plans and health account plans were about equally likely to offer health promotion programs.
About 53% of the health account plan members who had access to an employer-sponsored health promotion program participated, compared with 42% of the participants in traditional plans and 43% of the participants in ordinary high-deductible plans.
Members of the 3 different types of plans expressed similar views about how likely they were to prefer a cheaper doctor. Only 14% of the traditional plan members said they would be “extremely interested” in using a provider network with low out-of-pocket costs for patients, but only 20% of the health account plan members said they would be extremely interested in the bargain provider network.
In 2008, participants in traditional plans reported a big jump in delays in getting health care due to cost, while participants in the high-deductible plans and health account plans reported higher but relatively steady levels of cost-related delays in getting care.