PPOs remain most popular plan type

According to KFF/HRET, more than half of covered workers opt for PPO arrangements

PPO health plans remain the top choice among workers, according to the 2013 Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research and Educational Trust (KFF/HRET) annual survey. In fact, PPOs cover more than half of all workers who report receiving health benefits.

Fifty-seven percent of covered workers are enrolled in PPOs, followed by high-deductible health plans (20%), HMOs (14%), POS plans (9%), and conventional plans (<1%).

Historically, HMOs peaked in 1996 with 31% of covered workers enrolled, but the trend shows a continuous decline. In 2013, only 14% of workers were covered by HMO plans.

According to KFF/HRET, enrollment in high-deductible health plans-which emerged in 2006 on the survey-has leveled off after several years of increases. Workers in the Midwest are more likely to be enrolled in such plans. Average premiums for high-deductible health plans with a savings option are lower than the overall average for all plan types for both single and family coverage, at $5,306 and $15,227, respectively. 

The savings option-often a tax-advantaged Health Savings Account-is used to pay qualified medical expenses. For 2013, federal law allows account contributions up to $3,250 for a single person and $6,450 for a family, however, rules also allow those over the age of 55 to contribute more.