Enrollees with high deductibles engage more in healthcare than traditional plan enrollees

(Washington, D.C. – Insurance News 360) – The 14th annual survey of consumer engagement in health care shows that consumers are more cost-conscious and seek more information than in years past.

The Employee Benefit Research Institute and Greenwald & Associates conducted a consumer engagement survey that looked at value-based health insurance design, growth of high deductible plans and their impact on consumers’ behavior and attitudes.

The study revealed that nearly half of enrollees in a high deductible health plan were in a plan paired with a consumer-directed health plan (with a health savings account, or health reimbursement arrangement. Also, those who enrolled in high deductible plans are more engaged than traditional plan enrollees.

These are also more likely to look for information and exhibit cost-conscious behaviors. They are more likely to research doctors and hospitals, inquire about generic drug options, seek less costly treatment solutions, negotiate lower prices for services,and ask questions about coverage for specific medications. They are also more likely to create a budget for medical expenses, use online cost-tracking tools offered by healthcare providers, and take preventative measures to preserve health, including enrolling in wellness programs. But, those differences though, may be tied to outside factors.

“HDHP enrollees have a higher level of education than traditional plan enrollees, consider themselves to be in very good health, and receive a higher level of income,” said Paul Fronstin, Director of Health Education, Employee Benefits Research Institute. “It is important to remember that these advantages may drive people to select the HDHP option.”

Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute U.S.

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