“Satisfaction gap” narrowing between traditional health plans and CDHPs: EBRI

Individuals with health insurance continue to express higher satisfaction with traditional health plans compared with consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs), but the “satisfaction gap” appears to be narrowing, according to new research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). The Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey (CEHCS) found that traditional-plan enrollees were more likely than CDHP and high-deductible health plan (HDHP) enrollees to be extremely or very satisfied with their overall plan in all years of the survey. In 2014, 61 percent of traditional-plan enrollees were extremely or very satisfied with their overall health plans, compared with 46 percent among CDHP enrollees and 37 percent among HDHP enrollees.

However, overall satisfaction rates have been trending upward for CDHP enrollees and downward for traditional enrollees, noted Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s Health Research and Education Program. Fronstin noted that differences in out-of-pocket costs may explain some of the difference in overall satisfaction rates among enrollees in traditional plans, HDHPs, and CDHPs. In 2014, 48 percent of traditional-plan participants were extremely or very satisfied with out-of-pocket costs (for health care services other than for prescription drugs), while 19 percent of HDHP enrollees and 26 percent of CDHP participants were extremely or very satisfied.

CEHCS also found the following:

Quality of care—Recently, individuals in a CDHP were as satisfied as individuals in a traditional plan with the quality of care received. In 2014, 66 percent of individuals in a CDHP and 68 percent of those in traditional plans were extremely or very satisfied with the quality of care received. In contrast, individuals with an HDHP were less likely to be satisfied with the quality of care received than those with a traditional plan in every year of the survey, EBRI noted. In 2014, 56 percent of HDHP enrollees were extremely or very satisfied with quality of care received.

Access to doctors—Satisfaction levels with getting doctor appointments were high relative to other aspects of health care regardless of plan type. In 2014, about two-thirds of plan participants were extremely or very satisfied with their ability to get doctor appointments. Satisfaction rates have been largely flat among traditional-plan enrollees, while they have been trending upward among CDHP enrollees. Among HDHP enrollees, satisfaction with ease of getting a doctor appointment fell from 63 percent in 2013 to 54 percent in 2014.

Recommend a plan—CDHP and HDHP enrollees were found to be less likely than those in a traditional plan both to recommend their health plan to friends or co-workers and to stay with their current health plan if they had the opportunity to switch plans.

SOURCE: EBRI press release, July 16, 2015.

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