Consumer Experiences in a Consumer-Driven Health Plan

Health Services Research-August 2004
Vol. 39, No. 4, Pt. 2
August 2004
Christianson, J.B., Parente, S.T., and R. Feldman
pp. 1123-40

Objective. To assess the experience of enrollees in a consumer-driven health plan (CDHP).

Data Sources/Study Setting. Survey of University of Minnesota employees regarding their 2002 health benefits.

Study Design. Comparison of regression-adjusted mean values for CDHP and other plan enrollees: customer service, plan paperwork, overall satisfaction, and plan switching. For CDHP enrollees only, use of plan features, willingness to recommend the plan to others, and reports of particularly negative or positive experiences.

Principal Findings. There were significant differences in experiences of CDHP enrollees versus enrollees in other plans with customer service and paperwork, but similar levels of satisfaction (on a 10-point scale) with health plans. Eight percent of CDHP enrollees left their plan after one year, compared to 5 percent of enrollees leaving other plans. A minority of CDHP enrollees used online plan features, but enrollees generally were satisfied with the amount and quality of the information provided by the CDHP. Almost half reported a particularly positive experience, compared to a quarter reporting a particularly negative experience. Thirty percent said they would recommend the plan to others, while an additional 57 percent said they would recommend it depending on the situation.

Conclusions. Much more work is needed to determine how consumer experience varies with the number and type of plan options available, the design of the CDHP, and the length of time in the CDHP. Research also is needed on the factors that affect consumer decisions to leave CDHPs.

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