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Consumer-driven health plans pass HMOs in popularity of plans offered: survey

Consumer-driven health plans with high deductibles have surpassed health maintenance organizations to become the second most common plan design offered by U.S. employers, a survey by benefit consultant Aon Hewitt has found.

Fifty-eight percent of more than 1,800 employers surveyed by Aon Hewitt offered some type of CDHP in 2011, while 38% offered HMOs, 15% offered point-of-service plans, 12% offered exclusive provider organization plans and 5% offered indemnity plans. PPOs remain the most popular health plan option, offered by 79% of employers surveyed.

The numbers add up to more than 100% because many employers offer more than one plan option to employees.

Although CDHPs are being offered by more U.S. employers, enrollment in the plans still lags behind that of other plan types. For example, PPO plan enrollment rates averaged 69%, making it the most popular plan among employees, followed by POS plans, whose enrollment averaged 49%. By comparison, enrollments averaged 43% in CDHPs with health reimbursement arrangements, 28% in CDHPs with health savings accounts and 14% in CDHPs without any accompanying savings accounts.

Cost increases

CDHPs with either an HRA or HSA also experienced the smallest cost increase in 2001, averaging 6%. By comparison, POS, HMO and EPOs experienced cost increases averaging 8% in 2011. Costs increased by an average of 7% for CDHPs without savings accounts, PPO plans and indemnity plans.

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