Findings from the 2015 EBRI/Greenwald & Associates Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey

December 2015
EBRI Issue Brief #421
Paperback, 28 pp.
PDF, 1,033 kb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2015

Download Issue Brief PDF pdf

Executive Summary

  • The 2015 EBRI/Greenwald & Associates Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey (CEHCS) finds that 13 percent of the privately insured population was enrolled in a consumer-driven health plan (CDHP); 11 percent was enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP); and 76 percent was enrolled in more traditional coverage. Overall, 26 million individuals with private insurance were enrolled in a CDHP—a health plan associated with a health savings account (HSA) or health reimbursement arrangement (HRA), or an HSA-eligible health plan.
  • The 2015 CEHCS also finds that among individuals enrolled in CDHPs, 63 percent (16.3 million) had opened an HSA, 13 percent (3.3 million) was in an HRA, and 24 percent (6.2 million) was enrolled in an HSA-eligible health plan but had not opened an HSA.
  • 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. Specifically, those in a CDHP or HDHP were more likely than those with traditional coverage to say that they had checked whether the plan would cover care; asked for a generic drug instead of a brand name; talked to their doctors about prescription options and costs; asked a doctor to recommend a less costly drug; talked to their doctors about other treatment options and costs; developed a budget to manage health care expenses; and used an online cost-tracking tool provided by the health plan.
  • There is also some evidence that adults in a CDHP and those in an HDHP were more likely than those in a traditional plan to be engaged in their choice of health plan. Specifically, those in a CDHP were more likely than those with traditional coverage to say that they had talked to friends, family or colleagues about the plans; attended a meeting where health plan choices were explained; and consulted with their employer’s HR staff about health plan choices. Those in an HDHP were more likely than those with traditional coverage to say that they had visited the health plan’s website to learn about their plans; talked to friends, family or colleagues about the plans; used other websites to learn about their choices; and consulted with an insurance broker to understand their plan choices.
  • The survey also finds that CDHP enrollees were more likely than traditional-plan enrollees to take advantage of various wellness programs, such as health-risk assessments and health-promotion programs, as well as biometric screenings. In addition, financial incentives mattered more to CDHP enrollees than to traditional-plan enrollees.