Employees Less Likely To Select Health Plan With Higher Premiums

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U.S. employees this year are significantly less willing to select health plans with higher premiums and lower out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles and copayments, than last year, according to a survey recently released by Watson Wyatt, the AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. For the survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points, researchers in May and June interviewed more than 2,400 employees at large companies.

According to the survey, 19% of employees said that they were willing to select health plans with higher premiums, compared with 38% last year. Almost two-thirds of employees said that they have taken steps to improve their personal health, compared with 61% last year, the survey found.

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In addition, 17% of employees said that they avoided a physician visit to reduce costs, and 17% said that they did not fill a prescription to reduce costs, according to the survey.

Cathy Tripp, national leader of consumerism for Watson Wyatt, attributed some of the differences between this year and last, to the economy. "Some employees that have for years overpaid for coverage have now looked at how much they actually consume and realized it's not the right choice," Tripp said, adding, "I think there is an uptick in kind of consumerism in general about awareness around what you're buying" (Murphy, AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 12/10).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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