Americans enrolled in high-deductible and consumer-driven health plans were less satisfied with their coverage than those in more traditional HMOs or PPOs and more likely to avoid or delay needed care, according to a survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and the Commonwealth Fund. The survey also found that individuals enrolled in high-deductible plans were more likely to get saddled with debt than those with more comprehensive coverage. Overall, 33% of those enrolled in high-deductible plans and 42% in consumer-directed plans said they were "extremely" or "very satisfied" with their coverage. That compared with 63% of individuals with more traditional insurance. Both high-deductible and consumer-directed plans had a minimum deductible of $1,000 for individuals and $2,000 for families. Consumer-directed plans included a health savings account.
The survey included 1,061 responses from individuals in traditional plans, 463 in high-deductible plans and 185 in consumer-directed plans. Only 30% of those with high-deductible policies and 46% of enrollees in consumer-directed plans said they were "extremely" or "very likely" to stay with their current coverage, compared with 60% of those with more traditional insurance. Higher deductibles did appear to make enrollees more cost-conscious about healthcare decisions. The savings to employers, however, may come at the expense of sicker and lower-income individuals, said Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund. Read the issue brief. -- by Matthew DoBias