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.