Employees who fear high out-of-pocket costs aren’t blocking the growth of consumer-driven health (CDH) plans, as more individuals and employers take advantage of money-saving options as healthcare costs rise, according to a survey conducted by Aon Consulting Worldwide, the global human capital consulting organization of Aon Corporation (NYSE: AOC) and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists.
The nationwide study of 470 employers found the number of employers offering CDH plans is on the rise, with 37 percent offering this plan type to employees, up from 28 percent of employers in 2006 and 22 percent in 2005, the first year this study was conducted.
“This finding shows that the CDH movement continues to grow,” said Bill Sharon, senior vice president with Aon Consulting and co-author of the survey. “Early CDH results have been very positive. Employers like them because they are seeing a reduction in healthcare cost increases. Our analysis shows that a company can achieve first year savings of 8 percent of their premium if they implement an effective consumer-driven healthcare strategy.”
More employees this year than last are enrolling in a CDH plan. Sixty percent of employers have more than 10 percent of their employees participating in a CDH plan, up from 53 percent of employers in 2006. Additionally, employee fears about enrolling in this new plan type have decreased. Of those employers offering a CDH plan, 54 percent cited concerns among employees about high out-of-pocket costs as the principal reason for not enrolling in a CDH plan. That figure is down from 66 percent in 2006.
“There is a growing recognition that most employees do not want a medical plan with high out-of-pocket costs,” Sharon said. “Therefore, most companies with CDH enrollments of 40 percent or more have designed CDH plans with out-of-pocket maximums comparable to their more-traditional HMO and PPO plans. In addition, employers have used out-of-pocket cost comparisons to show employees the relative cost advantages of the CDH plan.”