Employees with consumer-driven health plans take a more active role in their health care, including making more informed decisions about health plan enrollment with the help of a benefit adviser, new research shows.

Employees with CDHPs used resources and cost information before selecting a plan more often than those with traditional plans, a 2014 Employee Benefit Research Institute / Greenwald & Associates Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey says.

The survey showed that people enrolled in a CDHP were more likely than those with traditional coverage to say they:

  • Attended a meeting where health plan options were explained
  • Consulted with HR about plan choices
  • Consulted with a broker to understand plan choices

“The data show that CDHP enrollees are more likely than traditional-plan enrollees to take advantage of various wellness programs, such as health-risk assessments, health-promotion programs, as well as biometric screenings,” says Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s health education and research program and co-author of the report. “It’s also clear that financial incentives matter more to CDHP enrollees than they do to traditional-plan enrollees.”
The survey found that adults with CDHPs were more likely than those with traditional coverage to say they:

  • Checked whether the plan covers care
  • Asked for a generic drug instead of a brand name
  • Talked to their doctor about prescription options and cost
  • Checked the price of service before getting care
  • Asked a doctor to recommend less costly prescriptions
  • Talked to their doctor about other treatment options and costs
  • Developed a budget to manage health care expenses
  • Used an online cost-tracking tool

About 15% of Americans are enrolled in a CDHP, while 74% have more traditional health care coverage, the survey found. Eleven percent of Americans are enrolled in a high-deductible health plan, 57% have an HSA or HRA, and 43% are enrolled in an HSA-eligible plan but haven’t opened an account, the survey also found.

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