As employers move toward offering a consumer-driven health plan (CDHP) as part of their employee benefits, many have questions such as—how do employees respond to consumerism? Are my employees ready to assume greater control and responsibility? What can my company do to make the transition easier? Will the benefits of making the transition be worth the expense and the upheaval?
This research answers those questions and more. Over a 15-month period, researchers studied individuals representing different age groups, family structures, employment positions, and income levels. Participants remained anonymous. The findings are reliable, but due to the nature of qualitative research, they cannot be considered representative of the general population.
By studying the same people over time, an evolution can be seen in employees’ attitudes, beliefs, and behaviour and employers can make note of potential obstacles to avoid.
Employees appreciate the change from a “one-size-fits-all” approach. However, too many choices can make it difficult to distinguish one plan from another. Although choice is intuitively viewed as a positive, the array of choices—and the complexity associated with those choices—can be confounding to some employees.
Allowing employees a multiplicity of choices upon which to build a plan that best meets their personal set of needs is generally appreciated in principle, but some employees have difficulty negotiating the sheer amount and complexity of those choices.
Making an informed choice requires that employees gain an intimate knowledge of each option in order to make a decision they feel is a good one. This amounts to a lot of work that they previously did not have to do. In some cases, this does more to disengage than engage.
While the research demonstrates that employees want to be—and can be—good healthcare consumers, doing so requires some assistance from employers and insurers. Your company’s implementation of a consumer-driven health plan can be smoother by designing offerings with choice in mind—and by making sure each offering is distinct. You can further build employees’ confidence in their enrolment choices by helping them predict potential costs and by providing tools that can help them in forecasting future healthcare needs.