The end of each calendar year results in publication of new numbers from a variety of health data tracking organizations. A select set of findings developed from our survey of the newly released data:
A small but increasing number of employers are offering High-Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs)
As HMO and POS enrollment has fallen, PPO and HDHP plans have grown. Although growth in the number of employers that offer HDHPs was not statistically significant overall, of those employers which offered health benefits, the number offering an HDHP option did increase from 4% in 2005 to 7% in 2006. Large firms (>1,000 workers) are more likely to offer HDHPs, however, when a choice of plan types is provided, just 19% of workers choose the HDHP option.1
Estimates of enrollment vary, depending on who is doing the estimating. Trade groups estimate that enrollment in HSA-eligible plans increased from just over one million in 2005 to almost 3.2 million in 2006,2 while independent estimates peg the HSA-eligible enrollment figure at 600,000 in 2005 and about 2 million in 2006, but also note enrollment of 2.9 million in HRA-based plans.3
Enrollment in HDHPs will continue to increase – or not. Two to four percent of firms said they were “very likely” and 22-25% said they were “somewhat likely” to offer an HDHP option in 2005-06. However, the actual increase in such plans among all firms was just 3%. In the coming year, 4 – 6% of firms report being “very likely” and 18 – 19% report being “somewhat likely” to offer an HDHP.4
1Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research and Educational Trust. 2006 Annual Survey of Employer Health Benefits. Accessed October 12, 2006 from: http://www.kff.org/insurance/7527/upload/7527.pdf.
2HSAs and Account-Based Health Plans: An Overview of Preliminary Research. America’s Health Insurance Plans; June 2006. Accessed 9/27/06 from: http://www.ahipresearch.org/pdfs/HSAsOverviewJun2006.pdf.
3“CDH Enrollment Increases to 4.9 Million; HAS-Qualified HDHPs Gain on HRA Plans” (2006) Inside Consumer Directed Care; Washington, D.C. as referenced in: Consumer-Directed Health Plans: Small but Growing Enrollment Fueled by Rising Cost of Health Care Coverage. United States Government Accountability Office; Washington, D.C.: April 28, 2006.
4Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research and Educational Trust. 2006 Annual Survey of Employer Health Benefits. Accessed October 12, 2006 from: http://www.kff.org/insurance/7527/upload/7527.pdf.