Consumer driven health plan growth slows

September 15, 2010

Consumer driven health plans (CDHPs) in the U.S. experienced continued growth this year, albeit at a slower rate than in 2009, according to preliminary results released by United Benefit Advisors (UBA) from its "2010 UBA Health Plan Survey."

Consumer driven health plans (CDHPs) in the U.S. experienced continued growth this year, albeit at a slower rate than in 2009, according to preliminary results released by United Benefit Advisors (UBA) from its "2010 UBA Health Plan Survey," which includes responses from 17,113 plans sponsored by 11,413, employers.

CDHPs grew at a rate of 18.1% this past year (about half that of 2009), but they no longer cover more employees (12.4%) than HMO plans (15.4%), according to Bill Stafford, UBA vice president, Member Services. The Northeast region of the country had the largest concentration of CDHPs (26.7%), followed by the Southeast region (22.9%). The average cost increase for all CDHPs at 7.3% was slightly lower than that of the average of all plan types, which increased 8% this year.

Employers often offset the higher out-of-pocket costs of CDHPs by offering employees a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) or a health savings account (HSA) and contributing funds. The 2010 UBA Health Plan Survey found the average employer contribution to an HRA was $1,481 (up from $1,310 in 2009) for a single employee and $2,857 for a family (up from $2,502 in 2009).

“The trend toward employee empowerment and participation continues in 2010 when it comes to healthcare,” said Stafford in a statement. “Employees are taking more control over healthcare expenditures by increasing participation in CDHPs, and they are also realizing that there are financial benefits - in addition to health benefits - of participating in wellness programs.”

Other information from this year’s survey results:

  • The average increase for all plan types was 8%.

  • PPO plans have nearly two-thirds of all enrolled employees (65.7%).

  • Fee For Service Plans will no longer be reported as the plans remaining are insufficient to develop legitimate benchmarks.

  • The average employee contribution for plans with contributions for all plan types is $113 for single and $443 for family.

  • More than three-fourths of all wellness plans (77.1%) offered a health risk assessment.

  • Of all plans in the Northeast, 81.7% still have 100% coinsurance.

  • 52.9% of all covered employees also elected to cover their dependents.