Telemedicine receives rave reviews from users, EBRI annual survey finds
Telemedicine has a time. The percentage of adults with private health insurance stating that telemedicine was “extremely important” to them more than doubled between 2017 and 2021, from 7% to 17%. In addition, nearly three quarters of telemedicine users say they are either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their visits.
This is just one of the main conclusions of the 17th edition of the “Consumer Engagement in Healthcare Survey(CEHCS) of privately insured adults conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and Greenwald Research. The CEHCS provides reliable national data on the growth of consumer-focused health plans and high-deductible health plans (HDHP), as well as their impact on the behavior and attitudes of health care consumers.
According to the survey, “Telemedicine visits generally take place with known providers outside of a telemedicine program. Almost two-thirds (62%) of adults said the telemedicine visit took place with a health care provider or doctor they had seen or had a relationship with. Only 12% said the visit was with a new health care provider recommended by the health plan through their telemedicine program / partners. “
Other key findings of CEHCS 2021:
- Enrollments in health plans eligible for the health savings account (HSA) and health reimbursement schemes fell by one point to 18% in 2021, after reaching a record level in 2020. Similarly, enrollments in plans with high deductibles that were not eligible to be paired with an HSA account increased from 15% to 13%.
- Those enrolled in the traditional diet are more satisfied than those enrolled in HDHP with their overall health plan, with 63% of those enrolled in the traditional diet being “extremely” or “very” satisfied, compared to 44% of those enrolled in HDHP. According to EBRI officials, the difference in satisfaction appears to be the result of out-of-pocket spending on prescription drugs and medical services, noting a lack of difference in satisfaction with the quality of care received, ease of getting appointments you or the choice of doctor. It should be noted, however, that satisfaction levels among HDHP enrollees almost double when seniority with their health plan drops from less than a year to three years or more.
- About two-thirds of people report having a choice between two or more health plans, especially those enrolled in HDHP. According to the survey, 27% of those registered with the HDHP say they have the choice between three health plans, against 18% among those registered with the traditional plan.
- When it comes to choosing a health plan, most respondents place a high priority on the network of health care providers, prescription drug coverage, low out-of-pocket costs, low premiums, and low cost. easy to understand program. “Typically, those enrolled in the traditional diet and those enrolled in HDHP ranked these aspects of health care in the same order, with one exception,” said Paul Fronstin, director of the health education and research program at the. ‘EBRI and co-author of the report, in a press release. “People on the traditional plan reported that the low out-of-pocket expenses for doctor’s visits were greater, as the low cost of premiums was lower when selecting a plan. However, HDHP registrants have indicated that low premiums are more important than low reimbursable fees when selecting a plan.
- More than half of all respondents reported using their HSA to pay for everyday expenses, and almost half (47%) used HSAs to cover unforeseen medical expenses. Almost 40% used them to minimize taxes, and about a third used them to pay for a mix of short-term and long-term health expenses or to cover personal expenses when they needed the money. . Notably, 28% used them to invest.
Our latest research shows that people with HSAs are using these accounts in ways that best meet their perceived needs, ”added Lisa Weber-Raley, research director for Greenwald Research, who conducted the study with EBRI. “In the future, employers may consider providing additional information to their employees, as many survey respondents indicated that they would be more likely to accumulate and invest unused funds if they received an annual review. of their HSA balance. “