Large employers using CDHPs, skinny plans to offset rising costs


Large employers expect health insurance costs to rise about 6.5 percent on average next year, so they're taking steps to reign in their spending, control costs and avoid taxes, finds a new survey from the National Business Group on Health.

For example, 57 percent of the survey respondents, including 136 of the country's largest corporations, say they will either start offering or expand existing consumer-directed health plans (CDHP).

And there will be a roughly 50 percent increase in the number of employers that intend to offer CDHP as their only benefit plan--22 percent offer the option this year, while 32 percent plan to do so in 2015. That boost in CDHP was "larger than I would have expected," Karen Marlo, a vice president at NBGH, told Kaiser Health News. "We were really surprised at how much the survey over and over again pointed the finger at consumerism."

Employers choose an opportune time to offer CDHPs as consumers report an increasing satisfaction rate with the plans, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

Other steps employers take to cut costs include boosting wellness programs, with 53 percent either adding or expanding wellness incentives. And 35 percent of employers are considering shifting their employees' coverage to private health insurance exchanges in 2016, while 14 percent are partnering with a private exchange to offer retirees' coverage.

About 16 percent of the surveyed companies also said they will keep offering so-called skinny plans that provide less coverage required by the Affordable Care Act.

To learn more:
- here's the NBGH survey
- read the Kaiser Health News article

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