High-deductible health plans growing(Read article summary)
The employer market is moving toward more consumer-driven plans. Will that translate into lower health spending?
Sarah Beth Glicksteen/CSM/File
High-deductible plans are gaining market share.
Hereâ€™s another important fact from the Kaiser Family Foundationâ€™s recent survey of the employer health insurance market. Health insurance plans with high deductibles and a saving option (HDHP/SO) have been gaining market share rapidly. Only 1-in-25 enrollees were in such plans in 2006; today that figure is more than 1-in-6.
The increased popularity of these plansâ€“which involve Health Savings Accounts (HSAs, created by the 2003 tax law) or Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs)â€“has come at the expense of health maintenance organizations (HMOs, down from 21% in 2005 to 17% in 2011), preferred provider organizations (PPOs, down from 61% to 55%), and point-of-service plans (POS, an unfortunate acronym, down from 15% to 10%).
When paired with HDHPs, HSAs and HRAs are often called consumer-driven health plans because they give the patient / consumer more direct responsibility for health spending. In return for lower premiums, beneficiaries face higher cost-sharing. To help cover those out-of-pocket costs, beneficiaries make contributions to tax-advantaged saving accounts
Bottom line: The employer market is moving toward more consumer-driven plans. Big question: Will translate into lower health spending?