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Can consumer directed health plans make for a more cost conscientious employee?According to a Blue Cross Blue Shield Association survey, those who opt into CDHPs are more likely to budget for health care costs and participate in health and wellness programs.The industrywide BCBSA 2008 CDHP member experience survey also found that CDHP enrollees are 30% more likely to track their health expenses than those in more traditional health insurance plans and 27% more likely to ask their doctors about the cost of treatment.When it comes to health and wellness, CDHP enrollees appear more engaged and proactive in preventive health measures. The survey found they are slightly more likely to have regular checkups, physicals and preventive screenings than non-CDHP enrollees. CDHP consumers also are more likely than people in traditional health plans to participate in health and wellness programs, including disease management, health coaching, nutrition and diet, smoking cessation, stress management and exercise.“Consumers are demonstrating more active engagement in their own health care than are non-CDHP consumers, as evidenced by an increased use of health and wellness programs and better tracking, estimating and budgeting for health care costs,” said Maureen Sullivan, senior vice president, strategic services at BCBSA. “They help promote health and wellness by encouraging consumers to take a vigorous role in their health and well being.”The 39 independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies collectively serve 4.4 million CDHP members-up 50% from last year. Of these, 2.9 million are covered by health savings account-qualified plans and 1.5 million are members in health reimbursement arrangements.According to Sullivan, CDHP education is the key to increasing these types of accounts.“While there still is a lot of education that needs to be done to make consumers aware of the best way to utilize these products, the substantial enrollment growth and the findings on CDHP consumer behavior tells us that CDHPs are helping to create incentives for consumer engagement,” said Sullivan.–[email protected]

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