Towers Watson surveyed employees regarding their views on their health insurance coverage. (TW Survey) Overall satisfaction has dropped slightly since 2007, to 64%, with the biggest component of the drop relating to health care cost satisfaction. As might be expected, those who are older, in poorer health and enrolled in high-deductible plans have the lowest levels of satisfaction. High deductible plan enrollees are not more dissatisfied with costs, however, and are more satisfied with insurance carrier interactions, which may relate to the greater control that these members exercise over spending.
A substantial majority of enrollees are concerned that their employer will be raising their share of costs in the future. Obviously this concern is greatest among those in poor health and the elderly, but interestingly, it is a significant issue for all income levels. Many members have felt affected by rising health costs in ways such as increased stress or financial concerns. People with chronic conditions and/or family members with such conditions are most affected. Notwithstanding these concerns, a majority of enrollees are not taking steps to lower their health costs, other than generically agreeing that they are trying to take better care of themselves. Some have taken steps that are not good, such as skipping a doctor visit or not filling a prescription.
High deductible plan members were more likely to take good steps to lower costs and less likely to take bad ones, which indicates the incentives in those plans seem to be working as desired. People would take lower raises and pay more to have lower, predictable health costs. Enrollees also seem to want better retirement pay slightly more than low, predictable health costs, but value both of those more than current pay. Overall, the survey reflects an employee population that very much has health care on its mind and is very concerned about both the current and future health costs it may be asked to bear.