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AHIP Survey on Work-based Health Plans

By February 13, 2018Commentary

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.

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