Newspapers Examine Implications of Survey on Consumer-Directed Health Plans
The Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle recently examined a survey released on Thursday by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and the Commonwealth Fund on consumers' satisfaction with health savings accounts paired with high-deductible insurance plans, as well as the availability of health cost comparison information.
In the survey, researchers polled 1,204 people in traditional or high-deductible insurance plans. The survey found that less than half of those enrolled in high-deductible plans were satisfied with their insurance coverage, compared with more than 60% who were satisfied with their traditional health insurance plans (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/10).
The survey also found that 12% of those in high-deductible plans received information that allowed them to compare health care costs at different facilities, and a "slightly" higher percentage said they were provided with information on doctor and hospital quality, the Times reports.
According to the Times, hospitals, doctors and medical labs generally "have been resistant to disclosing prices and often bristle at efforts to determine quality." In addition, information on costs is not available in a form that facilitates comparison.
However, some health care consultants "believe that once consumers begin to demand information," that will change, the Times reports (Vrana, Los Angeles Times, 12/11).
A summary of the survey findings is available online.