Who Values Information from a Health Plan Internet-Based Decision Tool and Why: A Demographic and Utilization Analysis

Authors


Abstract

Objectives

The aim of this study was to investigate factors associated with utilization of health plan Internet-based decision tools.

Data Sources and Study Setting

Enrollment, claims, plan design, and web transaction data during 2008 provided by a national health insurer for 253,398 subscribers from 919 employers.

Study Design

Multivariate models of the effects of demographic, health, employer, and plan benefit design characteristics on the use of the tool and its individual function categories.

Data Extraction Methods

Subscribers, who were either an individual member or a family, were included if at least one family member had 12 months of coverage in 2008. Members older than 65 and those with multiple insurance carriers were excluded.

Principal Findings

Higher education, higher income, younger age, female gender, higher co-morbidity risk, prevalence of chronic conditions, Caucasian race, and English as the primary language were positively associated with using the tool. Plan benefit characteristics such as free preventive coverage, higher deductible, moderate coinsurance rate, family coverage, and enrollment in health savings accounts were also associated with higher likelihood of using the tool.

Conclusions

Insurers provide consumers information on cost efficiency, quality, and wellness through Internet-based decision tools, but more effort is needed to reach certain demographics.

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