According to a report released by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), a non-profit organization, an increase in consumer satisfaction was noted among individuals with what’s been dubbed a consumer-directed health plan (CDHP). CDHP refers to insurance plans that allow people to use health savings accounts, health reimbursement arrangements, of similar means to make health care costs tax deductible. Since policyholders (consumers) usually pay for their own health care until meeting a plan’s deductible, these arrangements are often called consumer driven.
The EBRI report noted that as satisfaction levels have increased with CDHPs, satisfaction rates on more traditional health insurance policies has decreased. The study found that out-of-pocket costs (what the insured has to pay for health care) is one of the main reasons behind the change in satisfaction levels among both people who have a traditional plan and those with a CDHP.
Basically, high-deductible plans have premiums that are lower than some other types of insurance because coverage doesn’t begin until you have met the annual deductible for anything other than recommended preventive health care.
Between 2006 and 2009, the satisfaction rate with CDHPs jumped from 37 percent to 58 percent. The study also showed that satisfaction among doctors also increased with CDHPs as compared to traditional health insurance plans.
Many employers offer CDHPs in order to minimize the company’s health care benefit expenses. Some employees have started to be more proactive when it comes to managing their health care and making wiser health care decisions because they pay for a lot of services.
In order to qualify as an HSA high-deductible plan, a plan has to have a deductible starting at $1,200 for self-only coverage or $2,400 for family coverage in 2012. If your employer offers HSA plans, the company can also contribute to your HSA. Contributions you make are tax deductible when you file income taxes. Should your employment status change, HSA funds remain your property even if contributed by your employer. The money will roll over at the end of each year and continue growing with tax-free earnings. You can learn more about CDHPs here on our website.
Amanda Grace is a contributing author to HSA for America and an expert on Health Savings Accounts.