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The Employee Benefit Research Institute asked enrollees in CDHC plans a series of questions to determine changes in cost-conscious behaviors. Surprisingly, with a few exceptions, there were no statistically significant differences between people who cost-conscious and those who were not. Enrollees who checked their health plan to see if a particular treatment or medication was covered, or who researched a doctor’s quality rating before receiving services, had lower account balances than those who did not take such measures. Those who budgeted for health care expenses had higher account balances than those without a budget.

Asset levels in consumer-driven health plans are increasing, even while average account balances are leveling off, the report found. In 2009, CDHC plans held over $7 billion in approximately 5 million accounts. The average balance in 2009 was $1,419, a 5 percent increase from 2008; comparatively, balances increased 90 percent between 2006 and 2007.

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