CDHPs Cover 28 Percent Of Those With Health Insurance: EBRI

In 2013, 28 percent of individuals with health insurance were covered under a consumer-driven health plan (CDHP), according to recent research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and Greenwald & Associates. The 2013 Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey (CEHCS) defines a CDHP as a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) paired with a health savings account (HSA) or health reimbursement arrangement (HRA).

Overall, 9.7 percent of the U.S. population was enrolled in a CDHP, up from 9.6 percent in 2012. In addition, EBRI found that enrollment in HDHPs increased from 16 percent in 2012 to 18 percent in 2013. A growing share of the HDHP market was HSA-eligible, noted Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s Health Research and Education Program. “When examining only the number of people enrolled in HSA- or HSA-eligible plans, the overall number of individuals with an HSA or enrolled in an HSA-eligible plan increased from 17.5 million to 20.4 million, a 16 percent increase,” said Fronstin.

Cost-consciousness. The CEHCS found that CDHP enrollees are more cost conscious in their decision making than those in traditional plans. “Once again, we found that CDHP enrollees were more likely to use resources to pick their health plan, more likely to use cost information before getting health care services, and more likely than traditional-plan enrollees to take advantage of various wellness programs, such as health-risk assessments, health-promotion programs, and biometric screenings,” noted Fronstin.

However, he cautioned that it is not clear from the data whether the differences in consumer engagement can be attributed to plan-design differences or whether various plan designs attract certain kinds of individuals. “Regardless, it is clear that the underlying characteristics of the populations enrolled in these plans are different,” he said. “As the CDHP and HDHP markets continue to expand and more enrollees are enrolled for longer periods of time, the sustained impact that these plans are having on cost, quality, and access to health care services can be better understood.”

Specifically, EBRI found that those in a CDHP were more likely than those with traditional coverage to say that they had checked whether the plan would cover care; asked for a generic drug instead of a brand name; talked to their doctors about prescription options and costs; talked to their doctors about other treatment options and costs; asked a doctor to recommend less costly prescriptions; developed a budget to manage health care expenses; checked the price of a service before getting care; and used an online cost-tracking tool provided by the health plan.

The survey was published in the December EBRI Issue Brief. For more information, visit http://www.ebri.org.

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