More on DSS Health Care Engagement Index (HCEI)™

Most recent HCEI results show engagement levels remaining steady.

 Data collection was recently completed for Q2 2011 DSS Health Care Engagement Index (HCEI)™.  At 56.5, overall health care engagement for the United States is virtually unchanged from Q1 2011 (56.7).  Go to the following link for more information on HCEI and how it is calculated: www.dssresearch.com/Solutions/IndustryProgramsSolutionsGroup/HealthCareEngagementIndex/
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  • HCEI™ is below its peak during PPACA passage. Level of engagement for the country peaked in the first quarter of 2010 at 57.7 at the height of discussions on the Patient Protection and Affordability Act (PPACA) that passed on March 23, 2010.  After the law passed, the HCEI hovered around 57.0 until last fall when the index dipped to 55.8 before rebounding to 56.7 in Q1 of this year.  

 

  • Very few know what’s in PPACA. Despite continued discussion of PPACA in general and in relation to future budget deficits, awareness and knowledge of the law has not changed over the last three quarters.  Less than 10% of consumers feel they know a lot about PPACA, the same percentage who gave this response in Q4 2010.  One-third of them know something about the law and 37% have at least heard of it.   That leaves 21% of US consumers who say they have never heard of PPACA or health care reform legislation.

 

  • Engaged consumers are good for business. The most engaged consumers are better utilizers of available health care services.  They actively manage and monitor their health, attempt to exercise, eat right and control their weight and they receive preventive care that is appropriate for their age and gender.  They consistently spend a more than the typical consumer on preventive care and routing doctor visits, but have lower overall medical and prescription costs.  The most engaged consumers have significantly higher satisfaction scores and are significantly more likely to recommend their health plan to friends and family.  Forty-four percent of Engaged consumers are completely satisfied with their health coverage compared to 23% of Disengaged consumers.  Likewise, 41% of Engaged consumers would definitely recommend their current health plan compared to only 9% of Disengaged consumers.

 

™Health Care Engagement Index and HCEI are trademarks of Decision Support Systems, LP.

 

 

 

 

  • Today, direct communication with carriers is preferred over insurance exchanges. If forced to select their own health plan, 44% of consumers indicated that they would prefer to buy health insurance directly from a carrier.  Over one-quarter (26%) of them would prefer purchasing in a health insurance exchange and 17% would prefer using a broker or agent to select their coverage.  Direct communication with carriers currently has the lead.  However, given that little is known about health insurance exchanges outside of Massachusetts and Utah, a number of consumers are already willing to give them a chance and this percentage is likely to go up significantly once the rules are made clear.  In follow-up questions, over 75% of consumers who chose an option other than an exchange indicated that they were unaware that Federal tax credit might not be available to them if they did not purchase through an exchange.  Interest in brokers may also increase as the role they may play as educators, facilitators and navigators of the complex health insurance alternatives is better understood by more consumers.
  • Today, direct communication with carriers is preferred over insurance exchanges. If forced to select their own health plan, 44% of consumers indicated that they would prefer to buy health insurance directly from a carrier.  Over one-quarter (26%) of them would prefer purchasing in a health insurance exchange and 17% would prefer using a broker or agent to select their coverage.  Direct communication with carriers currently has the lead.  However, given that little is known about health insurance exchanges outside of Massachusetts and Utah, a number of consumers are already willing to give them a chance and this percentage is likely to go up significantly once the rules are made clear.  In follow-up questions, over 75% of consumers who chose an option other than an exchange indicated that they were unaware that Federal tax credit might not be available to them if they did not purchase through an exchange.  Interest in brokers may also increase as the role they may play as educators, facilitators and navigators of the complex health insurance alternatives is better understood by more consumers.

 

 

 

  • Engagement level is tied to socio-economic status, but not demographics. Marital status, ethnicity, gender and age have little impact on level of engagement for consumers, but occupation, income and education level are highly correlated with their engagement level.  Those with household incomes over $75,000 per year are significantly more engaged in their health care than are consumers with incomes below $15,000 per year (average HCEI™ of 63.1 versus 49.8 for lowest income group).  Fewer than 4% of households making less than $15,000 per year are fully engaged compared to over 19% of households making $75,000+ per year.  Likewise, college graduates have an average HCEI of 60.6, significantly higher than the average HCEI score of 51.6 for those with a high school education or less.  Even the presence of children or multiple adults in a household does not significantly increase the typical consumer’s level of engagement with their or their family’s personal health.
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