Consumer Driven Health Plans Not Growing As Quickly As Once Predicted

Individual or Family Health
Group Health Coverage

Consumer Driven Medical Plans

In the ongoing debates about universal health coverage and affordable health insurance reforms, there has been much ballyhoo made about the so-called Consumer Driven High Deductible Health Plans. And while these plans continue to be offered as the entry point for affordable medical coverage by more and more insurance companies and employers, they do not seem to be catching on as quickly as was once predicted.

A national study surveying 200 providers of employee based medical insurance revealed that among large employers with 1,000 to 15,000 employees both in the private and public sector. Only 1 in four of the firms polled approved of or offered the Consumer Driven High Deductible Healthcare Plan (CDHP) option. Of those that did not currently offer a CDHP as an affordable health insurance alternative to their employees only 11 percent said they intended to do so in the future.

Somewhat surprising to those that have been in favor of the CDHP’s more than 50% of the firms polled in the survey did not believe they were the best option available to reduce healthcare costs and provide low cost medical insurance to their employees.  Specifically those surveyed indicate that they felt CDHP’s do little to control their organization's prescription drug costs, especially when compared with affordable healthcare options that have proven successful such as generic and mail-order prescription drugs and disease management and wellness programs.  Additionally, nearly 30 percent of those polled said they believed that low cost Consumer Driven Health Insurance Plans can do more damage than good by discouraging employees from getting the care they need due to the high out of pocket costs.

Other methods besides high deductible healthcare plans to reduce costs and provide more affordable health insurance to their employees suggested by respondents in the survey included:

The study also found that more than half of the employers in the survey believed that their employees felt that low cost employer sponsored health insurance was the most important employee benefit, more important than salary increases, more vacation time or retirement plans.