In the Fall of 1998, the Academic Senate Committee on University Welfare, with the assistance of the campus Benefits Office, conducted a survey of all active and retired faculty concerning their experience and satisfaction with university provided health benefits. The survey asked respondents to report on their experiences during the 1997 calendar year.
A total of 2172 surveys were sent in late September 1998. A second survey was sent to non-respondents in early November and an e-mail message was sent to all faculty at approximately the same time thanking those who had returned the survey, and urging those who had not to do so. In the end, we received a total of 842 responses for a response rate of almost 39%. We compared the distribution of our respondents to the total faculty population in terms of gender, rank and active v. retired status and found that assistant professors were under-represented (only 16% responded) but otherwise our respondents reflected the total population of those surveyed on these variables fairly well.
In the tables that follow we present the results on two questions: overall rating on quality of health plan and complaints (both number and kind) about the health plan. Results are presented separately for active and retired faculty. A number of cases had to be thrown out in the process of cleaning the data, and some were lost due to missing data on specific questions. Thus, the results reported below reflect a smaller number of responses (800 on the overall satisfaction question, 767 on the questions concerning complaints about health plan).
We conducted some basic significance tests on the data; the results of these appear in the tables. In addition, we were concerned that differences among the plans might be caused solely by different characteristics of plan members. To address this, we evaluated differences in overall satisfaction across plans while controlling for age, sex, number of years in plan, current health status and number of visits to primary care physician in past year. Doing this reduced, but did not eliminate, the differences in satisfaction with the various plans; in some cases, however, the differences fell below conventional levels of statistical significance. Unfortunately, our data did not allow for controlling for the effect of medical group on satisfaction since most of our respondents who are not members of Kaiser saw physicians in the Alta Bates Medical Group.
Many factors go into the choice of a health plan; different individuals have different needs and preferences in terms of their health plan. We believe that the data reported below can at most provide some additional information as you think about your health plan options during open enrollment. Included in the open enrollment material that you will receive from the Office of the President is a card to request additional materials including a publication put out by the Pacific Business Group on Health called "Health Scope" that reports on satisfaction surveys conducted for major California employers (including the University of California). Even more data from those surveys can be found on the web at http://www.healthscope.org.