From the September 2011 issue of Treasury & Risk magazine

Consumer Health Spreads

More and more employers offer consumer-driven health plans.

As healthcare costs continue their ascent, more companies are adopting consumer-directed health plans (CDHP).

Only 27% of companies will not offer a consumer-directed plan in 2012, down from 39% in 2011, according to a survey of 83 large companies with a total of 4 million employees. The survey, conducted by the National Business Group on Health, shows 17% of the companies will offer only a CDHP to employees next year, vs. 20% in 2011, while 56% will include a consumer-driven plan as one option, up from 41% this year.

“We are clearly seeing a march toward a more aggressive consumerist strategy, and a growing realization among many employers, and I think the public sector too, that if the consumer isn’t actively engaged and doesn’t have some stake, there is no hope for containing healthcare costs,” says Helen Darling, president of the group.

The companies surveyed estimate healthcare costs will rise 7.2% next year, just slightly lower than the 7.4% increase this year. Darling says companies calculate that the new requirements under last year’s healthcare reform legislation have added one percentage point to the increase in healthcare expenses. It cost companies $11,983 per employee to provide healthcare coverage this year, according to NBGH.

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