CDHPs can save most employees money, study says

By BenefitsPro


By Kathryn Mayer

A new study finds that most employees would have saved more in a consumer directed health plan versus a traditional health plan (such as a PPO) without compromising quality or convenience.

Research from Change Healthcare finds that, on average, employees could have saved $55 per month in total out-of-pocket costs (premium savings plus co-pays and co-insurance), while families could have saved $140 per month in total costs had they selected a CDHP.

The success of CDHPs for plan sponsors is driving more employers to offer them. Over the past two years, offerings of CDHPs have risen from 17 percent to 22 percent of all employers. Among jumbo and large employers, the percentages are significantly higher—59 percent and 36 percent respectively, according to Mercer research. But only 13 percent of employees who have the option are actually enrolled in a CDHP.

“Many employees fear change and worry that a high-deductible plan will cost them significantly more than a traditional plan," says Change Healthcare president and CEO Douglas Ghertner. "They also lack the tools needed to successfully shop for health care services."

But Ghertner says CDHPs can help employees control their health care costs, while improving their health.

“In the population we analyzed, 91 percent of employees with families and 65 percent of employees overall would have spent less—when taking into consideration premiums and out-of-pocket expenses— under a CDHP versus a PPO during the plan year,” he says.

The study found that across the population, 10 percent of covered members in the PPO plan had out-of-pocket expenses that alone were equal to or greater than the deductible for the CDHP option.

“A cost transparency and consumer engagement solution can help both employers and employees further optimize CDHPs,” Ghertner says.

In Change Healthcare’s study, when accounting for additional savings opportunities presented by a cost transparency solution, savings potential for members across the entire population increases from $55 to $118 per month, while savings for families increases from $140 to $201 per month.

Originally published on BenefitsPro.com