High-deductible and consumer-driven health plans have been a tough sell for employers trying to save money. That seems to be changing recently, and you might find workers a little more open to such plans – if you follow the lead of successful companies. The quick lesson about HDHPs and CDHPs is that high-deductible plans don’t sell themselves; employers have to make an effort to lead employees into the plans.
To illustrate, let’s go back to 2006, around the time of HDHP and CDHP rollouts. Of all workers in employee health plans, the percentage enrolled in HD/CDHPs went from 2.7% in 2006 to just 3.8% in 2007. Possible reason for the minuscule growth: Old-fashioned opposition to anything new, plus horror stories from employees about issues with HD/CDHPs, such as –
- no money in the deductible kitty
- providers refusing to discuss price or negotiate post-treatment
- health plans refusing to require providers to accept negotiated contract rates
Of course, after that time, health costs continued to rise – for employers and employees – and the economy plunged, so everyone started to give HD/CDHPs a fresh look.
Jump ahead to this year and a survey of 787 companies by benefits consultant Workscape, Inc. The survey found that:
- HD/CDHPs are now offered in nearly 50% of small and midsize organizations and almost 66% of large companies.
- From 2008 to 2009, there was a 10% increase in adoption of the plans by employees.
And, from the survey, here might be the reason for the increases: About 67% of employers said they offer programs that help employees make informed decisions about participating in a CDHP or HDHP, and 40% use incentives to encourage employees to participate in health/disease-prevention programs that make high-deductible plans attractive.
In other words, your benefits people can’t just throw the plan out there and expect employees to latch onto it. It has to be carefully explained and marketed to them.