New EBRI Research: Americans Concerned About Rising Health Care Costs

Apr 30, 2001, 01:00 ET from Employee Benefit Research Institute

    WASHINGTON, April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans are becoming more critical
 about many aspects of the health care system, according to new research by the
 nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).  Rising health care
 costs and uncertainty about the about the health care system's future concern
 them the most.
     EBRI's April Notes presents findings from the 2000 Health Confidence
 Survey (HCS), which examines a broad spectrum of health care issues, including
 Americans' satisfaction with health care today, their confidence in the future
 of the health system and Medicare, and their attitudes toward health care
 reform.  The survey is sponsored by EBRI, the Consumer Health Education
 Council (CHEC), and Mathew Greenwald & Associates, Inc., and has been
 conducted annually since 1998.
     The 2000 HCS results show that nearly 25 percent of Americans are
 extremely or very confident of their ability to afford health care without
 hardship during the next 10 years, up slightly from 1998.  But many
 respondents -- particularly women and those in poorer health -- express
 concern about escalating health care costs and a lack of confidence in their
 ability to afford medical expenses in the future.  In addition, respondents'
 understanding of managed care has continued to decline.
 
     Some of the survey's key findings:
     * Thirty-nine percent of those who have received health care in the past
       two years say they are not too (19 percent) or not at all (20 percent)
       satisfied with health insurance costs, compared with one-third of
       respondents in 1998.
 
     * Nearly 25 percent of Americans are extremely or very confident of their
       ability to afford health care without financial hardship during the next
       10 years.  This is up slightly from 20 percent in 1998.  Similarly,
       about one-fourth are extremely or very confident (and one-third are
       somewhat confident) of their ability to afford prescription drugs
       without financial hardship during the next 10 years.
 
     * Half of respondents who are not yet eligible for Medicare are not too
       (30 percent) or not at all (20 percent) confident that they will be able
       to afford health care without financial hardship once they are eligible
       for Medicare.  A similar percentage are not too or not at all confident
       they will be able to afford prescription drugs without financial
       hardship under Medicare.
 
     * Consistent with findings from previous years, just 20 percent of
       Americans are extremely or very confident that they will be able to get
       the treatments they need once they are eligible for Medicare, compared
       with one-third who are confident about this over the next 10 years.
 
     * The percentage of respondents describing themselves as somewhat familiar
       with managed care dropped from 29 percent in 1998 to 23 percent in 2000.
       The percentage saying they are not at all familiar with it increased
       from 28 percent to 39 percent.  Two-thirds of respondents think they
       have never been enrolled in managed care.  Just over 10 percent believe
       they are currently enrolled, and another 11 percent believe they were
       previously enrolled but currently are not.  Still another 11 percent do
       not know whether or not they have ever been enrolled in managed care.
       In fact, about 90 percent of workers currently participating in a health
       plan are in some form of managed care.
     * Almost one-half of respondents covered by employment-based health
       insurance are extremely (12 percent) or very (36 percent) satisfied with
       their current health insurance plan.  Forty percent are somewhat
       satisfied, and 11 percent are not too (7 percent) or not at all
       (4 percent) satisfied.  Most are also at least somewhat confident that
       the employer sponsoring their insurance has selected the best available
       health plan for its workers.
     * If their employer were to stop offering health insurance, one-fourth of
       those with employment-based coverage say they would be not too
       (14 percent) or not at all (12 percent) likely to purchase coverage on
       their own.  Only about one-half indicate they would be extremely
       (26 percent) or very (27 percent) likely to do so.
 
     "Americans' general satisfaction with employment-based health coverage is
 significant, especially in light of the fact that many with this coverage say
 they are not likely to obtain health insurance on their own should they lose
 it," said EBRI president and CEO Dallas Salisbury.
 
         EBRI Notes is a monthly periodical providing up-to-date information on
     a variety of employee benefit topics.  Members of the press may request
     complimentary copies of EBRI Notes no. 4, which features "Findings From
     the 2000 Health Confidence Survey," from Alicia Willis at (202) 775-9132.
     Reporters may also obtain an executive summary of the article at
     www.ebri.org/ebripubs.  Full-text copies of the article are available
     online by contacting Danny Devine (202) 775-6308, e-mail: devine@ebri.org
     for the "press only" password.  Others may purchase printed copies for
     $25 prepaid, or pdfs for $7.50 prepaid, by calling (202) 775-9132.
         EBRI is a private, nonprofit public policy research organization based
     in Washington, DC.  Founded in 1978, its mission is to contribute to, to
     encourage, and to enhance the development of sound employee benefit
     programs and sound public policy through objective research and education.
     EBRI does not lobby and does not take positions on legislative proposals.
     EBRI receives funding from individuals, employers of all types, unions,
     foundations, and government.
         CHEC is part of the Employee Benefit Research Institute Education and
     Research Fund (EBRI-ERF), a 501(c)(3) organization.  CHEC was formed in
     1998 to provide evidence of the value and uses of health care coverage
     that help reduce the number of uninsured Americans and promote better
     health. EBRI-ERF, as a nonpartisan and nonlobbying research organization,
     has conducted objective and widely utilized analysis of health and
     retirement issues for more than 20 years.  Like its parent organization,
     CHEC is a nonpartisan group that does not lobby and does not take
     positions on specific policy proposals.  CHEC receives it funding from
     partner organizations, including the American Hospital Association, the
     Association of American Medical Colleges, the Milbank Memorial Fund, AARP,
     the BlueCross BlueShield Association, and the Employee Benefit Research
     Institute.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X42700441
 
 

SOURCE Employee Benefit Research Institute
    WASHINGTON, April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans are becoming more critical
 about many aspects of the health care system, according to new research by the
 nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).  Rising health care
 costs and uncertainty about the about the health care system's future concern
 them the most.
     EBRI's April Notes presents findings from the 2000 Health Confidence
 Survey (HCS), which examines a broad spectrum of health care issues, including
 Americans' satisfaction with health care today, their confidence in the future
 of the health system and Medicare, and their attitudes toward health care
 reform.  The survey is sponsored by EBRI, the Consumer Health Education
 Council (CHEC), and Mathew Greenwald & Associates, Inc., and has been
 conducted annually since 1998.
     The 2000 HCS results show that nearly 25 percent of Americans are
 extremely or very confident of their ability to afford health care without
 hardship during the next 10 years, up slightly from 1998.  But many
 respondents -- particularly women and those in poorer health -- express
 concern about escalating health care costs and a lack of confidence in their
 ability to afford medical expenses in the future.  In addition, respondents'
 understanding of managed care has continued to decline.
 
     Some of the survey's key findings:
     * Thirty-nine percent of those who have received health care in the past
       two years say they are not too (19 percent) or not at all (20 percent)
       satisfied with health insurance costs, compared with one-third of
       respondents in 1998.
 
     * Nearly 25 percent of Americans are extremely or very confident of their
       ability to afford health care without financial hardship during the next
       10 years.  This is up slightly from 20 percent in 1998.  Similarly,
       about one-fourth are extremely or very confident (and one-third are
       somewhat confident) of their ability to afford prescription drugs
       without financial hardship during the next 10 years.
 
     * Half of respondents who are not yet eligible for Medicare are not too
       (30 percent) or not at all (20 percent) confident that they will be able
       to afford health care without financial hardship once they are eligible
       for Medicare.  A similar percentage are not too or not at all confident
       they will be able to afford prescription drugs without financial
       hardship under Medicare.
 
     * Consistent with findings from previous years, just 20 percent of
       Americans are extremely or very confident that they will be able to get
       the treatments they need once they are eligible for Medicare, compared
       with one-third who are confident about this over the next 10 years.
 
     * The percentage of respondents describing themselves as somewhat familiar
       with managed care dropped from 29 percent in 1998 to 23 percent in 2000.
       The percentage saying they are not at all familiar with it increased
       from 28 percent to 39 percent.  Two-thirds of respondents think they
       have never been enrolled in managed care.  Just over 10 percent believe
       they are currently enrolled, and another 11 percent believe they were
       previously enrolled but currently are not.  Still another 11 percent do
       not know whether or not they have ever been enrolled in managed care.
       In fact, about 90 percent of workers currently participating in a health
       plan are in some form of managed care.
     * Almost one-half of respondents covered by employment-based health
       insurance are extremely (12 percent) or very (36 percent) satisfied with
       their current health insurance plan.  Forty percent are somewhat
       satisfied, and 11 percent are not too (7 percent) or not at all
       (4 percent) satisfied.  Most are also at least somewhat confident that
       the employer sponsoring their insurance has selected the best available
       health plan for its workers.
     * If their employer were to stop offering health insurance, one-fourth of
       those with employment-based coverage say they would be not too
       (14 percent) or not at all (12 percent) likely to purchase coverage on
       their own.  Only about one-half indicate they would be extremely
       (26 percent) or very (27 percent) likely to do so.
 
     "Americans' general satisfaction with employment-based health coverage is
 significant, especially in light of the fact that many with this coverage say
 they are not likely to obtain health insurance on their own should they lose
 it," said EBRI president and CEO Dallas Salisbury.
 
         EBRI Notes is a monthly periodical providing up-to-date information on
     a variety of employee benefit topics.  Members of the press may request
     complimentary copies of EBRI Notes no. 4, which features "Findings From
     the 2000 Health Confidence Survey," from Alicia Willis at (202) 775-9132.
     Reporters may also obtain an executive summary of the article at
     www.ebri.org/ebripubs.  Full-text copies of the article are available
     online by contacting Danny Devine (202) 775-6308, e-mail: devine@ebri.org
     for the "press only" password.  Others may purchase printed copies for
     $25 prepaid, or pdfs for $7.50 prepaid, by calling (202) 775-9132.
         EBRI is a private, nonprofit public policy research organization based
     in Washington, DC.  Founded in 1978, its mission is to contribute to, to
     encourage, and to enhance the development of sound employee benefit
     programs and sound public policy through objective research and education.
     EBRI does not lobby and does not take positions on legislative proposals.
     EBRI receives funding from individuals, employers of all types, unions,
     foundations, and government.
         CHEC is part of the Employee Benefit Research Institute Education and
     Research Fund (EBRI-ERF), a 501(c)(3) organization.  CHEC was formed in
     1998 to provide evidence of the value and uses of health care coverage
     that help reduce the number of uninsured Americans and promote better
     health. EBRI-ERF, as a nonpartisan and nonlobbying research organization,
     has conducted objective and widely utilized analysis of health and
     retirement issues for more than 20 years.  Like its parent organization,
     CHEC is a nonpartisan group that does not lobby and does not take
     positions on specific policy proposals.  CHEC receives it funding from
     partner organizations, including the American Hospital Association, the
     Association of American Medical Colleges, the Milbank Memorial Fund, AARP,
     the BlueCross BlueShield Association, and the Employee Benefit Research
     Institute.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X42700441
 
 SOURCE  Employee Benefit Research Institute