Employees Generally Like Their Own Health Plan, But Not The Health Care System: EBRI

While the vast majority of employees said that they are satisfied with their own health insurance plan, more than half give low ratings to the American heath care system as a whole, according to recent research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and Greenwald & Associates.

When asked to rate the U.S. health care system, a majority of employees described it as poor (21 percent) or fair (34 percent), while 31 percent consider it good. Only a small minority rate it as very good (12 percent) or excellent (2 percent). In contrast to the ratings for the health care system overall, workers’ ratings of their own health plans continue to be quite favorable: 51 percent of those with health insurance coverage are extremely or very satisfied.

The percentage of workers rating the health care system as poor has doubled between 1998 and 2006 (rising from 14 percent to 32 percent)—although that percentage has fallen more recently. “Dissatisfaction with the health care system appears to be focused primarily on cost,” noted Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s Health Research and Education Program.

The survey also found that workers are worried about their ability to get the treatments they need in the future. While 46 percent of workers indicate they are extremely or very confident about their ability to get the treatments they need today, only 28 percent are confident about their ability to get needed treatments over the next ten years, and just 19 percent are confident about this once they are eligible for Medicare. In addition, the survey found that employees remain generally confident that their employers or unions will continue to offer health insurance in the future.

The full report, 2013 Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey: Nearly 90% of Workers Satisfied With Their Own Health Plan, But 55% Give Low Ratings to Health Care System, was published in the September issue of EBRI Notes. For more information, visit http://www.ebri.org/pdf/notespdf/EBRI_Notes_09_Sept-13_WBS.pdf.

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