According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of the Actuary more people cut back on healthcare, leading to record-low growth in dollar  allocation for doctors but not in healthcare service and product spending.

“Consumers had fewer hospital procedures, filled fewer prescriptions and visited the doctor’s office less frequently. People remained cautious about their health care spending because of losses in private health insurance coverage, lower median household incomes and general financial uncertainty, according to the report. Total spending on both office-based physicians and clinical services grew by only 2.5% in 2010, the slowest annual growth rate since the federal government started keeping track in 1960.”

Yet, are consumers actually cutting down on healthcare?  Perhaps they  are  just being more savvy about how they are spending money toward their pursuit of healthcare.

The 2011 EBRI/MGA Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey, based on an online survey of 4,703 privately insured adults ages 21-64  provide nationally representative data regarding the growth of consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) and high-deductible health plans (HDHPs). It also  shows the  plans and consumer engagement with those adults having private health insurance coverage.

According to this survey, there is continued growth in consumer-driven health plans (CDHP) : In 2011, 7 percent of the population was enrolled in a CDHP, up from 5 percent in 2010. Enrollment in HDHPs ventolin inhaler no prescription boots increased from 14 percent in 2010 to 16 percent in 2011.

According to the survey, individuals in CDHPs were more likely than those with traditional coverage to exhibit  behavior based on cost-consciousness.  They were more likely to:

  • Check if  their plan would cover care
  • Develop a budget to manage health care expenses
  • Ask to have generic instead of brand-named drug
  • Talk to their doctor about treatment options and costs
  • Talk to their doctor about prescription drug options and costs
  • Check a price of service before getting care
  • Use an online cost-tracking tool

CDHP enrollees were more apt to participate in wellness programs that offered incentives or rewards, or enter health promotion programs where there were cash incentives or rewards.  They also take advantage of the health risk assessment greater than those in traditional plans due to the incentive prizes offered and the decreased premiums that they would have to pay.

The latest survey information regarding technology and  acquisition of health information showed that a significant portion of the population  uses a smartphone, and 1 in 5 reported use a tablet. Among them, 25% report using an app for health-related purposes. Among those not using an app, nearly 50% are interested in using one.