SHRM Poll: CDHPs Increased Employee Engagement in Their Health and Wellness

By Stephen Miller, CEBS Jul 7, 2011

Among HR professionals at organizations that offer employees an account-based consumer-directed health plan (CDHP), 77 percent strongly or somewhat agree that doing so has helped to engage their employees in their own health and wellness, according to a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) member poll, sponsored by Aetna.

In comparison, among all poll respondents (a random sample of HR professionals with the job title of manager and above), only a narrow majority (56 percent) strongly or somewhat agree that their employees "take an active role in choosing a health care benefits plan that will work for their unique needs."

"Although more complicated than a traditional plan, the impact that a consumer-directed health plan has in engaging employees in their own health and wellness suggests that they can have benefits for both employees and employers," said Evren Esen, manager of SHRM’s Survey Research Center.

CDHPs include employee-owned health savings accounts (HSAs) and employer-controlled health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs).

CDHPs 101
To learn more about HSAs and HRAs and how they work, see the SHRM Online article "
Consumer-Driven Decision: Weighing HSAs vs. HRAs."

More Responsibility, Greater Engagement

The poll, which was fielded June 8-20, 2011, shows that a sizeable majority (85 percent) felt that providing options that give employees control of their health care funds was a "very important" or "somewhat important" consideration when deciding which health care benefits to offer. Along similar lines, 77 percent said that their employees considered "a tax-free fund of money to help pay for health care expenses" to be very or somewhat important.

"These findings follow general trends that we are seeing in employee benefits," said Esen. "When possible, employers are offering benefits to give employees greater responsibility to manage not only their health care but also their retirement, financial security and leave."

Cost-Cutting Measures

When asked about the health care cost-cutting measures their organizations had taken over the past three to five years, 41 percent said they had begun offering a CDHP during that period, whereas 77 percent said they had begun asking employees to share more of the cost of health care benefits. Altogether:

42 percent of respondents said their organization offers a CDHP option for employees.

Of those respondents that offer a CDHP, 75 percent offer an HSA and 47 percent offer an HRA (and some offer both).

Still, most HR professionals were not totally comfortable with their knowledge about CDHPs: Only 42 percent agreed or strongly agreed that they were comfortable with their level of knowledge about CDHPs, while 58 percent were not comfortable with their level of knowledge.

Stephen Miller, CEBS, is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Related Articles:

Consumer-Driven Health Plans Demonstrate Savings, SHRM Online Benefits Discipline, June 2011

Health Savings Account Enrollment Continues to Grow, SHRM Online Benefits Discipline, June 2011

Income Gap Narrows for CDHP vs. Traditional Plan Enrollees, SHRM Online Benefits Discipline, May 2011

For 2012, Higher Limits for HSA Contributions, Out-of-Pocket Expenses for High-Deductible Plans, SHRM Online Benefits Discipline, May 2011

Consumer-Driven Decision: Weighing HSAs vs. HRAs, SHRM Online Benefits Discipline, May 2011

Quick Links:

SHRM Online Benefits Discipline

SHRM Online Health Care Reform Resource Page

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