‘Who Tries to Find Objective Information on Health Care? Findings From the 2010 Health Confidence Survey’ and ‘Labor Force Participation Rates of the Population Age 55 and Older: What Did the Recession Do to the Trends?’

February 2011, Vol. 32, No. 2
Paperback, 20 pp.
PDF, 1,069 kb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2011

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Executive Summary

Who Tries to Find Objective Information on Health Care? Findings From the 2010 Health Confidence Survey


USERS OF HEALTH INFORMATION: This analysis looks at who currently uses information on health cost, quality, and outcomes. Data comes from the EBRI/MGA 2010 Health Confidence Survey (HCS), a survey that examines a broad spectrum of health care issues, including Americans’ satisfaction with health care today, their confidence in the future of the health care system and the Medicare program, and their attitudes toward health care reform.


TYPES OF INFORMATION SOUGHT VARIES: Overall, 45 percent of the population reported having tried to find information about the advantages and disadvantages of different treatments, while only 14 percent tried to find information about the number of disciplinary actions taken against a doctor or hospital. About one-quarter tried to find cost information (28 percent for the full costs of different treatments; 24 percent for the costs of different doctors and hospitals).


WHO SEARCHES FOR INFORMATION: Women, younger individuals, and individuals with higher levels of education were more likely than others to seek information on cost, quality, and access. Individuals who experience an increase in either premiums or cost sharing are more likely than those who do not to seek information.


Labor Force Participation Rates of the Population Age 55 and Older: What Did the Recession Do to the Trends?


PARTICIPATION RATES UP FOR THOSE NEAR OR PAST RETIREMENT AGE: For those age 55 and older, the labor-force participation rate continued to increase even after the economic downturn of 2008–2009. For those ages 55–64, this is being driven almost exclusively by the increase in women in the work force; the male participation rate is flat to declining. But among those age 65 and older, labor-force participation increased for both males and females. Education is a big factor: Those with higher levels of education are more likely to stay at work.


NEED FOR HEALTH AND RETIREMENT BENEFITS A DRIVING FACTOR: The upward trend is not surprising and is likely to continue because of workers’ need for access to employment-based health insurance and for more earning years to accumulate assets in 401(k)-type plans, particularly after the stock market and economy downturn in 2008.