A recent survey on how Group Health Insurance Program members are managing out-of-pocket costs points to the need for more help navigating their health care benefits and expenses. The Department of Employee Trust Funds partnered with the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s La Follette School of Public Affairs to survey participants about how perceptions of costs influence their health care decisions.

The survey, conducted earlier this year, was sent to participants enrolled in high deductible health plans as well as those in non-HDHPs. High-level findings include:

  • Overestimation of 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; and
  • Overall, there were few differences between the HDHP and non-HDHP groups

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

 

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