Satisfaction Levels Rising Among CDHP Enrollees, But Traditional Plans Are Still Preferred

from Spencer’s Benefits Reports: Although satisfaction levels are rising among people enrolled in consumer-driven health plans (CDHP), traditional-health plan enrollees remained more likely than CDHP or high deductible health plan (HDHP) enrollees to be extremely or very satisfied with their overall plan, according to a recent report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). At the same time, satisfaction levels are declining among traditional health plan enrollees, EBRI found. The EBRI report noted that dissatisfaction with out-of-pocket costs may be driving these more recent satisfaction trends. The findings are from the 2011 EBRI/MGA Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey.

EBRI differentiates the high deductible plan (with deductibles of at least $1,000 for individual and $2,000 family) options by the presence (a CDHP), or lack (a HDHP), of a health account (health savings account (HSA) or health reimbursement account (HRA)).

“Similar to overall rates, satisfaction rates for out-of-pocket costs appear to be trending downward among those with traditional coverage and upward for those with CDHPs,” said Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s Health Research and Education Program.

Within those overall trends, Fronstin noted several other divergent findings, including the following:

  • Individuals in CDHPs and HDHPs were less likely than those in traditional plans both to recommend their health plan, and to indicate a desire to stay with their current plan, if given an opportunity to switch.
  • Early survey differences in satisfaction rates with respect to quality of care disappeared between traditional plan and CDHP enrollees, and there were high satisfaction rates with respect to access to doctors regardless of plan type, except for among HDHP participants.
  • Satisfaction with qualify of care consistently received significant lower assessment among HDHP participants than among CDHP and traditional plan participants (61 percent versus 71 percent in 2011).
  • Traditional-plan enrollees were more likely than CDHP and HDHP enrollees to be extremely or very satisfied with their overall plan in all years of the survey. In 2011, 57 percent of traditional-plan enrollees were extremely or very satisfied with their overall health plan, compared with 46 percent of CDHP enrollees and 37 percent of HDHP enrollees.
  • Differences in out-of-pocket costs may explain some of the difference in overall satisfaction rates among enrollees in traditional plans, HDHPs, and CDHPs, EBRI noted. In 2011, 41 percent of traditional-plan participants were either extremely or very satisfied with out-of-pocket costs (for health care services other than for prescription drugs), while 16 percent of HDHP enrollees and 24 percent of CDHP participants were extremely or very satisfied. Those with traditional coverage were more likely than those with a HDHP or CDHP to report being extremely or very satisfied with out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs.

Full results are published in the August 2012 EBRI Notes, Satisfaction With Health Coverage and Care: Findings from the 2011 EBRI/MGA Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey. For more information, visit

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