NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 26, 2008

The Commonwealth Fund teamed up with the Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI) to publish the results of an annual, Internet-based survey on the experiences of enrollees in health plans with different levels of cost-sharing.

The past three surveys all claimed enrollees are not as satisfied with consumer-driven health care (CDHC) plans as those in comprehensive plans.  However, satisfaction has improved somewhat in the most recent survey:

  • Satisfaction rates were similar for the quality of care received (71 percent in CDHC plans compared to 74 percent in comprehensive plans).
  • Satisfaction with physician network was also very similar across both plans (76 percent CDHC; 74 percent comprehensive plan).
  • Overall, enrollees in comprehensive plans reported being more satisfied (92 percent claimed to be "extremely" or "very" or "somewhat" satisfied vs. 85 percent in CDHC plans).

What supposedly most annoyed CDHC enrollees was higher out-of-pocket spending:

  • Twice as many were dissatisfied with out-of-pocket spending (43 percent) compared to those enrolled in comprehensive plans (21 percent).
  • Yet, nearly two-thirds of CDHC enrollees (63 percent) reported having a choice of health plan, compared to only 54 percent of those in comprehensive plans.

When asked why people chose their plans:

  • Some 51 percent of CDHC enrollees reported lower cost of premiums; 46 percent because they could save money and rollover later use; 28 percent of CDHC enrollees liked the ability to control their own health care dollars.
  • Of those in comprehensive plans; 41 percent chose the plan for its low cost-sharing, while 29 percent chose it for low premiums; controlling their own funds and savings for the future was negligible to them.

Source: Paul Fronstin and Sara R. Collins, "Findings From the 2007 EBRI/Commonwealth Fund Consumerism in Health Survey," Employee Benefits Research Institute, Issue Brief No. 315, March 2008.

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