AHIP Survey on Work-based Health Plans

By February 13, 2018 Commentary

The Association of Health Insurance Plan’s is a trade association for the nation’s health plans, although several of the largest have dropped out.  It conducted a survey of 1000 working age adults in January 2018 to determine their views on health care and health insurance, similar to the EBRI survey described yesterday.   (AHIP Survey)   63% of respondents said they were satisfied with the health insurance system, 31% were dissatisfied, while a higher 71% were satisfied with their own plan, compared to 19% dissatisfied.  60% said the cost of their health plan was reasonable, while 29% said it wasn’t.  Interestingly, only 30% thought the cost of health plans for Americans overall was reasonable, compared to 66% who said it was unreasonable, so there is a disjunct on perception of cost generally and for the individual’s own plan.  52% said their premium was reasonable and 52% their deductible.  80% expect costs to increase in the next two years.  75% believed that if they had an emergency hospitalization, their plan would cover most of the cost.  58% think more competition would help lower costs, while 42% think more government involvement would do so.  Although it is hard to believe most Americans have any understanding of the issue, respondents viewed a change in the taxation of health benefits as being negative.

The top reasons for respondents’ satisfaction with their current plan included comprehensive benefits, 39%; affordable premium and cost-sharing, 36% and choice of providers, 34%.  For older respondents, comprehensive benefits and provider choice became more important.  About 60% said they would take more comprehensive benefits over lower costs.  Factors that didn’t rate highly in satisfaction included wellness benefits, cited by only 11%, customer service, 9%, the plan is a partner in health, 6%, and the plan is innovative in technology use, 6%.  Yep, all those apps are going to make a lot of difference.  As expected, the biggest source of dissatisfaction is cost, cited by 80%, while 40% listed coverage that didn’t include some items and 22% providers that were out-of-network.  Areas for improvement were listed as more benefits by 43%, 27% cited greater transparency on what is covered and making benefits easier to understand and 25% cited more flexibility and greater provider choice.  Respondents cared most about drug benefits, preventive care and emergency room services.  An astounding 72% said they were informed about their benefits, which is likely a reflection of self-delusion.  Health benefits were reported as playing a major role in taking a job, but even more so in staying at a job.  Respondents underestimated significantly how much of the premium their employers paid.  When told, they were appreciative, and they value employer efforts to work with health plans to lower costs.

Kevin Roche

Author Kevin Roche

The Healthy Skeptic is a website about the health care system, and is written by Kevin Roche, who has many years of experience working in the health industry through Roche Consulting, LLC. Mr. Roche is available to assist health care companies through consulting arrangements and may be reached at khroche@healthy-skeptic.com.

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