Employers originally introduced deductibles to create shared member burden. The hope was people would consume care more carefully if they had to cover all costs out of the gate. The article “Fewer employers offering high-deductible plans as only option” illustrates the growing shift away from deductibles, pointing to rising healthcare costs and lack of engagement with plans as contributors.
The article overlooks that deductibles are problematic at their core, with three fundamental issues: they indiscriminately blunt care; they mask value with no transparency into cost or treatment options; they treat all conditions equally. People aren’t empowered to get the care they need when they need it.
Berkeley researchers analyzed employee spending on a high-deductible health plan—finding that workers did spend less on healthcare, with costs decreasing by 12% compared to a traditional plan. This sounds positive, but researchers concluded the spending reductions were entirely due to lower utilization. Deductibles don’t enable smarter care choices; rather, they force a decision about whether to get care. When people avoid care important to long-term health, that’s a huge problem. Another study on deductibles found women delayed chemotherapy for breast cancer by nearly nine months.
It doesn’t make sense that all conditions are the same in the eyes of a deductible—from toe fungus to cancer. There absolutely shouldn’t be a deductible for treatments like chemotherapy and insulin—when not getting care could be deadly.
Once employees meet their deductibles, care appears free, making all treatment options more appealing. Spikes of unnecessary utilization raise the risk pool, increasing prices the following year.
There’s a better way: Eliminate the deductible. Our data shows companies can save up to 20% on health insurance costs while encouraging employees to use their benefit.
Founder and CEO
Bind On-Demand Health Insurance