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 Blue Cross And Blue Shield Association Consumer Survey Shows High Rate Of Satisfaction With HSAs, Cites Increased Reliance On Decision-Support Tools 
 
by Healthy News - 10/10/2005
WASHINGTON - Consumers enrolled in health savings account (HSA)-eligible high deductible health plans are satisfied across a number of fronts, according to a new survey gauging consumer perceptions of consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) released today by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) at a National Press Club forum in Washington, D.C. The forum is the third in a series sponsored by BCBSA focused on the consumer's growing role in healthcare.

The survey found that 68 percent of HSA-eligible enrollees are satisfied with the performance of their insurer, 71 percent are satisfied with access to preventive care and wellness services, and 69 percent are satisfied with the health benefits information offered by their insurer. These satisfaction levels compare favorably to those seen in the survey from individuals with traditional insurance. In addition, the survey found that 37 percent of HSA-eligible enrollees - in contrast to 15 percent of individuals with traditional insurance - now feel more in charge of their healthcare over the past year.

"Although HSA products have been available for a relatively short period of time, we are extremely encouraged by the high rate of consumer satisfaction as shown in our new survey," said Maureen Sullivan, senior vice president, Strategic Services, BCBSA. "We are hopeful that this current level of satisfaction will continue as more products come online and familiarity grows."

Sixty-five percent of HSA-eligible enrollees who purchase coverage directly and 61 percent with employer-sponsored coverage said they were likely to recommend similar products to others.

The web-based survey conducted this past August by Knowledge Networks for BCBSA queried nearly 3,000 consumers enrolled in Blue Cross and Blue Shield and non-Blue consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) as well as traditional forms of insurance. The survey looked at several areas, including: factors influencing selection, expectations, satisfaction, likelihood of renewal, healthcare utilization, and changes in behavior.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are currently offering or expect to offer HSA-compatible high-deductible health plans in all 50 states by 2006. HSAs were created as part of the Medicare Modernization Act in 2003.

The survey found that HSA-eligible enrollees are of all ages and of no different health status than people enrolled in traditional coverage. "This survey finding dispels the myth that HSAs are only for the young and healthy," said Sullivan. "In addition, we are also bolstered by the finding that the number of previously uninsured currently enrolled in a HSA-eligible product is double that of enrollees in traditional insurance products (12 percent to 6 percent)."

HSA-eligible enrollees are more likely to access information and services available to assist them in decision making than individuals with traditional insurance, according to the survey. Thirty-three percent of these individuals have accessed information on drug costs compared to 18 percent of non-CDHP enrollees. In addition, HSA-eligible enrollees are far more likely to use wellness programs and online tools to track costs than non-CDHP enrollees.

"The success of HSAs and other consumer-directed health plans is predicated on consumers pursuing information and applying that knowledge to their healthcare decisions. The survey shows that consumers enrolled in HSAs are beginning to do just that," said Sullivan.

Across the board, individuals enrolled in HSAs or traditional insurance were just as likely to request generic drugs, decide not to go to a doctor, delay seeing a doctor or a medical procedure, delay or not fill a prescription, or take a lower than recommended dose of a prescribed drug.

To view the forum proceedings as well as access to BCBSA's presentation detailing the survey results and presentations from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and WellPoint on their experiences in the CDHP marketplace, go to www.BCBSHealthIssues.com/events/consumer/.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is made up of 40 independent, locally owned and operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 93 million - nearly one-in-three - Americans. For more information about the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies, please visit www.BCBS.com. For more information on Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association's policy positions and the healthcare debate, visit www.BCBSHealthIssues.com.

   
Provided by Healthy News on 10/10/2005
 
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