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Steve LeMieux, a district manager of Staples Inc. stores in Connecticut, didn’t have to think twice when the $13 billion industry leader in office supplies offered him and other employees the option of switching from their increasingly costly Blue

Cross/Blue Shield insurance plan to a new “consumer-driven” plan. Granted, the 43-year-old married father of two teenagers would have to pay out of pocket for the first $2,400 of his family’s health expenses. But under the new plan, Staples would place exactly that amount in an account for LeMieux, and if he went over, the company’s regular insurance plan would kick in–at an annual cost less than the plan without a $2,400 deductible. While there would be savings for both employee and employer with this option, what attracted LeMieux was the idea of being in charge. “I felt I’d have more control over my healthcare dollars,” he says. And if he were successful at holding down his out-of-pocket costs, he would get to keep, and roll over for next year, whatever part of the $2,400 that went unused.

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