Enrollment Levels Low in Consumer-Driven Health Plans
Consumer-driven plan enrollment remains low, and privately insured U.S. residents with such plans are less satisfied compared with people who have more comprehensive health insurance, according to a report released Thursday by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and the Commonwealth Fund, the Denver Post reports.
The survey queried 3,158 privately insured U.S. residents ages 21 to 64 (Shanley, Denver Post, 12/7). For the survey, a high-deductible plan was defined as having a deductible of $1,000 for individuals or $2,000 for families (Blinkhorn, CQ HealthBeat, 12/7).
The survey found that 1% of privately insured adults were enrolled in high-deductible plans with tax-exempt health savings accounts, about the same level as last year. The report also found that 7% of privately insured adults, or 8.5 million people, were enrolled in high-deductible, low-premium plans but had not signed up for tax-exempt HSAs, compared with 9% of adults last year (Congress Daily, 12/7).
Adults who qualified for HSAs but did not have them usually could not afford to contribute to the accounts, according to the report (Von Bergen, Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/8).
Participants in high-deductible plans were more aware of health expenditures than people in more comprehensive plans, but they also were more likely to skip doctors appointments or delay filling prescriptions, according to the report. The survey found that 20% of U.S. residents reported being familiar with high-deductible plans (CQ HealthBeat, 12/7).
The report concluded, "Despite the expectations of some policymakers that the lower premiums and tax benefits of consumer-driven health plans would substantially reduce the number of people without health insurance, adults in these plans were no more likely to have been uninsured before enrolling in their plans" (Denver Post, 12/7).
The report is available online. Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the report.