Filed Under:Health Insurance, Individual Health

CDHP, HDHP participants are more cost-conscious

Photo credit: Stuart Miles
Photo credit: Stuart Miles

Adults enrolled in consumer-driven health plans are more likely than those in a traditional health plan to engage in cost-conscious behaviors, according to a new report.

The Employee Benefits Research Institute, Washington, D.C., published this finding in a summary of results from a December 2012 “EBRI/MGA Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey.” EBRI offers education and research on employee benefits-related programs and public policy.

The survey reveals that more than half of individuals enrolled in a CDHP (56 percent), and those in a high-deductible health plan or HDHP (54 percent) have checked whether their plan covers specific care. This compares with 45% of individuals enrolled in a traditional health plan who have inquired.

Similarly, the report states, CDHP and HDHP enrollees are more likely than traditional health plan participants to say they have asked for a generic drug instead of a brand-name drug (53 percent CDHP and 52 percent HDHOP vs. 41 percent traditional); talked to their doctors about prescription drug options and costs (38 percent CDHP and 39 percent HDHP vs. 30 percent traditional) and talked to their doctors about other treatment options and costs (35 percent CDHP and HDHP vs. 28 percent traditional).

Likewise, CDHP and HDHP enrollees are more likely than traditional health plan participants to say they have developed a budget to manage health care expenses (26 percent CDHP vs. 16 percent traditional); checked the price of a service before getting care (32 percent CDHP and 27 percent HDHP vs. 23 percent traditional); and are using an online cost-tracking tool provided by the health plan (23 percent CDHP vs. 11 percent traditional.)

The report observes, however, that “there has been no clear increase” in the share of CDHP enrollees who reported cost-conscious decision-making over the seven years of the survey.

The survey adds that 10 percent of the U.S. population is current enrolled in a consumer driven-health plan, up from 7 percent in 2011. In total, 18.6 million adults ages 21-64 with private health insurance, representing 15.4 percent of the market, are enrolled either in a CDHP or HDHP that is eligible for a health savings account (HSA).

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