High Deductible Health Plans and Employers

The growing trend of high-deductible health plans for employee health coverage could be a troubling sign that the quality of coverage through employers is declining. The days of 100% health insurance coverage by employers are long gone. Employees all over the nation contribute nearly 20% to their employer-sponsored health care packages. For those employees who currently complain about the amount of their health care contributions, brace yourselves. Your employer may be looking to grab a higher-deductible health insurance option as a means for them to save a few dollars in a still-struggling economy.

A little high-deductible health plan history

Higher deductibles aren’t a new thing. Since 2003, high-deductible health plans have been working their way into the health care industry. Most have an average deductible rate of $1,200.00 for individuals and $2,400.00 for a family plan. The logic behind the high deductible is that it is supposed to serve as an incentive for people to make wiser choices for their individual health needs, and not run to the emergency room for every little ache of pain. For employers, the higher deductible rates mean lower premium costs, and this reasoning is catching on.

Higher-deductibles are catching on among employers

In 2009, almost 12% of employers nationally offered their employees a higher deductible health care plan. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute more employers are planning to do the same thing in the near future.

Currently, 40% of companies that employ more than 10,000 people have saddled up to the higher deductible opportunity as a means to cut costs. This savings is becoming more, and more, attractive to small business owners as well.“

As costs rise, it makes the high-deductible plan more attractive, because it’s one way to keep premiums down,” says Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s health research and education program. While business owners stand to save, employees could find themselves shelling out more than they ever have as a result of higher health care plan deductibles.