There are a number of factors that consumers consider when choosing the right health insurance coverage, ranging from family size, plan features and provider. However, cost is typically a dominant factor that comes into play for many families, especially those households who are not covered through their employer and are instead paying for coverage out-of-pocket.

While most health insurance marketing agencies organize their campaigns around affordability, it appears that some groups are more sensitive to cost than others. A new study conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that adults participating in consumer-driven health plans (CDHP) were more likely to exhibit cost-conscious behaviors than those enrolled in traditional plans. The study found that all groups surveyed – CDHP plan participants, high-deductible health plan participants (HDHP) and traditional enrollees – equally conducted research to compare plans. However, CDHP participants more heavily focused on cost, the study showed.

According to the research, 12 percent of Americans rely on CDHP for coverage, up 3 percent from 2011.

CDHP participants also more health-conscious

In addition to focusing more heavily on cost, the survey revealed that CDHP enrollees were also more likely to participate in programs and initiatives to lower their overall costs. For example, these individuals were more likely to participate in health and wellness programs, undergo physical assessments, take preventative measures to avoid chronic conditions. In addition, they were less likely to smoke and more likely to exercise than traditional health plan enrollees.

"It is clear that the underlying characteristics of the populations enrolled in these plans are different," noted Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI's Health Research and Education Program and author of the report. "Adults in a CDHP were significantly more likely to report being in excellent or very good health, and they were significantly more likely to exercise."

The implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is expected to greatly impact the market and provide more affordable options for consumers. As a result, health agencies may see increased competition for customers, making it even more crucial that they develop diverse products that cater to all levels of affordability. Separate studies show that a heavier focus on acquisition and product development to meet rising demand will play a core role in insurers' marketing strategies.

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