A recent survey on how participants in the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program are managing out-of-pocket costs points to the need for more help navigating their health care benefits and expenses.

ETF partnered with the Center for Financial Security (CFS) at the University of Wisconsin La Follette School of Public Affairs to survey participants about how perceptions of costs influence their health care decisions.

The survey was conducted in March and sent to participants enrolled in high deductible health plans (HDHP) as well as those in non-HDHPs.
High-level findings include:

  • Overestimating the costs of health care services
  • Confusion about deductibles and out-of-pocket limits
  • Lack of direction on where to find health care cost information
  • More information is needed on how high deductible plans work
  • Individuals struggle to come up with $2,000 to pay for an unexpected expense – regardless of whether it is health care related.
  • Decision making tools, like ALEX, tend to be used by women and information is retained better by those enrolled in a high deductible plan
  • Overall, there were few differences between the HDHP and non-HDHP groups

Survey results and methodology are presented in a brief titled, Managing Out-of-Pocket Medical Expenses: How Well are Families Prepared for a World of High Deductibles?

Last week ETF Secretary Robert Conlin and local health policy leaders discussed options and challenges related to the survey findings.

ETF, administrator of the state’s group health insurance program, will continue working to provide information and resources that help participants make informed health care decisions.

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