Comparison of CDHC, Non-CDHC Healthcare insurance Users Shows Some Differences; But The Similarities Of Usage, Outlook, Satisfaction Surprises Experts

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This is the first nationwide survey attempting to compare the usage, satisfaction and outlook of users of traditional healthcare insurance plans and newer, consumer directed healthcare plans. The results surprise experts who thought there would be a divergence but the similarities are apparent with some glaring differences.

While consumer directed healthcare offerings (CDHC) are popular with respondents to a nationwide survey, traditional health insurance offerings (non-CDHC) still satisfy the needs of a majority of users.

With more than 2,000 respondents from across the nation, the survey offers a glimpse of future trends in healthcare insurance as offered by such CDHC programs as Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) while providing comfort for supporters and users of more traditional plans.

Overall, 81% said they were satisfied with their current insurance plan but 43% of non-CDHC respondents were concerned about pricing versus just 6% of CDHC users.

The bottom line is that except for pricing, most non-CDHC insurance plan users are satisfied with their current offerings.

“This survey shows the differences and similarities in user outlook of the nation’s healthcare insurance programs,” said JoAnn Laing, President of Information Strategies, Inc. (ISI). The media and marketing company conducted the nationwide poll throughout March and published the first results on its website, http://www.HSAfinder.com.

“What’s more, when compared with CDHC users, this group utilized their insurance plans with about the same profile except in terms of wellness and smoking cessation,” she added.

Yearly premium costs however differed by $2,650 on average between the two groups with non-CDHC ($7,861) users paying on average 33% more than the CDHC group ($5,211). The average deductible for CDHC respondents was $1,899 while that of non-CDHC respondents was $467.

One of the main differences between CDHC insurance and non-CDHC insurance is the need for a higher deductible in the former case. The survey clearly indicates that on average, the higher deductible is offset by the reduction in premiums.

Conducted by the media services company, Information Strategies, Inc., the survey disclosed that there were little differences in the make-up between users of CDHC programs and non-CDHC programs.

    CDHC    non-CDHC

  • Average Age     39        40
  • Average Income     $42,200    $43,912
  • Gender of respondent (Male)     89%     47%
  • Education (post high school)     79%     76%

CDHC programs are generally classified as Health Savings Accounts, Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs) and Flexible Savings Accounts (FSAs). In all three instances individuals or employees have a personal health account from which they pay medical expenses directly with an insurance plan to provide coverage over a specified amount.

Non-CDHC programs include HMOs, PPOs and other plans with lower deductibles and co-pay provisions.

The survey also showed that there was little statistical difference in the overall health of CDHC and Non-CDHC users. On average, more than 64% of both groups reported they and their spouses were in good to excellent health. However, while less than 8% reported chronic illnesses in either themselves or their spouses, a non-CDHC respondent was three times as likely to have such a condition than a CDHC respondent.

There were also little differences in the age of respondents by insurance plan or by geography. Every state in the union was represented in the survey along with more than 200 different five-numbered zip codes. On average, CDHC respondents had 2.4 members covered while non-CDHC respondents had 3.1 covered family members.

Not surprisingly, more CDHC respondents came from the so-called “Red States” while non-CDHC respondents were more concentrated in the east and mid-west regions.

On average, CDHC respondents had their accounts for about 14 months while the average for non-CDHC was 2.5 years.

In terms of general coverage, CDHC users were more favorable (62%) than non-CDHC users (51%). For drug programs, the reverse was true, with 60% of non-CDHC users favorable versus 52% for CDHC users.

While two out of every three CDHC users said they would recommend their plan to a friend, less than half (47%) of non-CDHC users would tell someone to purchase their current plan.

More than half of the CDHC respondents said they purchased their plan themselves compared to more than 60% of non-CDHC who said they received their plan through work.

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Donald Mazzella