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Consumer determinants of the use of health plan information in plan selection.

Oetjen, Dawn; Fottler, Myron D; Unruh, Lynn Y; Rehman, Zia.
Health Serv Manage Res; 19(4): 232-50, 2006 Nov.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-17132200
One of the major issues in achieving optimum levels of performance in health-care markets is to enhance consumer understanding of their health plan choices in order to facilitate the expansion of 'high-value' health plans at the expense of 'low-value' health plans. The Federal government offers employees many choices of health plans and provides large amounts of information on all of these options through (1) comparative written health plan information, (2) information from the health plans themselves, and (3) comparative health plan information on the Internet. The present study examines the degree to which 1722 Federal employees in the Department of Health and Human Services utilized health plan information from the above three sources in making their annual health plan selection. Results indicate that most employees (64%) used at least one information source, with written information from health plans the most common (53%), followed by comparative written information in The Guide (32%) and the Internet (16%). Those employees who regularly search for information prior to making an important purchase, those with a short time in their current plan, those with family coverage, Whites, African-Americans, and men were all more likely to use health plan information to make their annual choice. The Internet was accessed more often by younger and higher paid employees. Implications for policy and future research are discussed.