AHIP hears what American workers want from their health plans

American workers want to see businesses and health plans working together to improve health and lower costs, according to results of a survey from America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) of employed U.S. adults with employer-provided health coverage. The top value-added services that survey takers wanted from their employers are wellness discounts and health or flexible savings accounts. The survey also revealed that, while employer-provided coverage is important for recruiting, it is even more important for retention.
Most of the survey respondents (71%) reported that they are satisfied with their plans but concerned about rising costs. However, comprehensive coverage was more important to respondents than affordability of coverage.
Perhaps surprisingly, 60% of employees surveyed thought that the cost of their coverage is reasonable, but only 30% had the same opinion on the current cost of health insurance for other Americans. Seventy-nine percent expected the overall cost of health insurance for most Americans to increase across the board over the next two years.

What matters most.

The benefits that matter most to the consumers surveyed are prescription drugs, preventive care, and emergency care. Reasons that they gave for satisfaction with their current plans were more likely to be connected to comprehensive choice, affordability, and choice of providers, and less likely to involve plan engagement issues such as wellness incentives, customer service, and technological innovation and tools to improve health and understand coverage.
Contributions to health plans by employers tend to be underestimated by employees, but, as knowledge of contributions increases, so do favorable impressions of employers. Seventy-two percent of respondents believe they have a strong understanding of their benefits.

Government involvement.

Respondents said that they prefer greater market competition for health plans, as opposed to government involvement. Most oppose taxing employer provided plans.

Top areas for improvement.

Improvements that respondents would like to see, other than lower costs, were more comprehensive benefits (43%), more transparency (27%), and more flexibility and options (25%). Respondents seemed to show little concern for smaller, specific groups of people. For example, only 15% thought it was most important for their plans to cover therapy, rehabilitation, and assistance services. Only 14% felt the same way about mental health services and pediatric services, 11% about maternity and newborn care, and four percent about drug abuse recovery treatments.

SOURCE: www.ahip.org.
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