Findings from the 2012 EBRI/MGA Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey

December 2012
EBRI Issue Brief #379
Paperback, 28 pp.
PDF, 1,094 kb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2012

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Executive Summary

  • The 2012 EBRI/MGA Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey finds continued slow growth in consumer-driven health plans: 10 percent of the population was enrolled in a CDHP, up from 7 percent in 2011. Enrollment in HDHPs remained at 16 percent.
  • Overall, 18.6 million adults ages 21–64 with private insurance, representing 15.4 percent of that market, were either in a CDHP or were in an HDHP that was eligible for an HSA. When their children were counted, about 25 million individuals with private insurance, representing about 14.6 percent of the market, were either in a CDHP or an HSA-eligible plan.
  • This study finds evidence that adults in a CDHP and those in an HDHP were more likely than those in a traditional plan to exhibit a number of cost-conscious behaviors. While CDHP enrollees, HDHP enrollees, and traditional-plan enrollees were about equally likely to report that they made use of quality information provided by their health plan, CDHP enrollees were more likely to use cost information and to try to find information about their doctors’ costs and quality from sources other than the health plan.
  • CDHP enrollees were more likely than traditional-plan enrollees to take advantage of various wellness programs, such as health-risk assessments, health-promotion programs, and biometric screenings. In addition, financial incentives mattered more to CDHP enrollees than to traditional-plan enrollees.
  • It is clear that the underlying characteristics of the populations enrolled in these plans are different: Adults in a CDHP were significantly more likely to report being in excellent or very good health. Adults in a CDHP and those in a HDHP were significantly less likely to smoke than were adults in a traditional plan, and they were significantly more likely to exercise. CDHP and HDHP enrollees were also more likely than traditional-plan enrollees to be highly educated.
  • A significant portion of the population reported using a smartphone or a tablet. Among them, as many as one-third reported using an application (app) for health-related purposes. Among those not using an app, about one-half were very interested in using one.
  • As the CDHP and HDHP markets continue to expand and more enrollees are enrolled for longer periods of time, the sustained impact that these plans are having on cost, quality, and access to health care services can be better understood. The eight years of consumer engagement surveys reported here provide unique data from which to measure future changes in this evolving type of health insurance.