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Consumer Driven Health Plan Growth Slows; Enrollments Decline for First Time

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INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, August 23, 2010 /PRWeb/ -- 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, the nation's largest health plan benchmarking survey, with 17,113 plans from 11,413, employers.

CDHPs grew at a rate of 18.1 percent this past year (about half that of 2009), but they no longer cover more employees (12.4 percent) than HMO plans (15.4 percent), according to Bill Stafford, UBA Vice President, Member Services. The Northeast region of the country had the largest concentration of CDHPs (26.7 percent), followed by the Southeast region (22.9 percent). The average cost increase for all CDHPs at 7.3 percent was slightly lower than that of the average of all plan types, which increased 8.0 percent 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 health care," said Stafford. "Employees are taking more control over health care 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."

"In spite of passage of health care reform legislation, health care costs will continue to increase. There has been little coming out of Washington to date that addresses the underlying health care issues that can help control costs," said Stafford.

Other key statistics from this year's Survey results:

  • The average increase for all plan types was 8.0 percent.
  • PPO plans have nearly two-thirds of all enrolled employees (65.7 percent).
  • 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 percent) offered a health risk assessment.
  • Of all plans in the Northeast, 81.7 percent still have 100 percent coinsurance.
  • 52.9 percent of all covered employees also elected to cover their dependents.

As health care plan offerings become more complex, Stafford points out that benchmarking data such as the annual UBA Health Plan Survey have become increasingly critical.

"The intent of the survey is to provide employers of all sizes with the data they need to manage their health care benefit programs effectively," said Stafford. "Especially for employers with fewer than 1,000 employees (which represents more than 99 percent of the employers in the U.S.) and for employers who have operations in multiple locations, this survey is the best source of reliable regional - and in many cases, state - health plan benchmarks by employer size and industry categories."

The 2010 UBA Health Plan Survey will be available to the public on Nov. 1. Only UBA Member Firms have access to the more than 250,000 pages of granular state, region and industry data. Stafford also said the analysis of the 2010 UBA Health Plan Survey data will continue over the next several months and, as in past years, additional findings will be forthcoming.  UBA has Member Firms in virtually every major U.S. market. To locate one and learn more about the 2010 UBA Health Plan Survey, visit www.UBAbenefits.com.

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