United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

Survey: Enrollment in Consumer-Directed Health Plans Jumps 22 Percent Despite Increase in Plan Costs

By RJ Nelson, Data Analyst at United Benefit Advisors
  Oct 20, 2016 10:30:00 AM

2016 UBA Health Plan SurveyOur 2016 Health Plan Survey results are in and as our preliminary findings indicated, while employer costs remained steady, employees continue to take on more cost for coverage. With PPO deductibles rising 50 percent, UBA finds that consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) continue to increase in popularity even though they are offering less savings than a year ago. Our newly released 2016 Health Plan Survey Executive Summary finds 26.4 percent of all U.S. employees are now enrolled in CDHP plans, an increase of 21.7 percent from last year and nearly 70 percent from five years ago.

Conversely, CDHP costs have risen 2 percent from last year. So while they are still 3.5 percent less costly than the average plan, they offered more savings in 2015 when they were 5.6 percent less than the average plan.

“CDHP interest among employers isn’t surprising given these plans’ savings over the average plan,” says Les McPhearson, CEO of UBA. “Employees typically pick up 32 percent of the cost, slightly below the 35 percent average employee contribution rate among all plans, making them an attractive choice for many employees as well. But like all cost benchmarks, plan design plays a major part in understanding value.”

The UBA survey finds the average CDHP benefits are as follows:

Consumer-directed health plan benefits
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Looking at prevalence of CDHPs, the UBA survey finds that 25.7 percent of plans offered by employers are CDHPs, a 14.2 percent increase in the last five years. Regionally, however, there are major differences in CDHP popularity.

UBA’s survey finds CDHPs account for the following percentage of plans offered by employers:

Northeast 34.4%
North Central   32.5%
Southeast 26.6%
Central 21.0%
West 14.2%

 

Read our breaking news release for full coverage regional trends, especially the unique plan shift happening in the West, particularly California.

For information on the regions, industries and group sizes driving the move to CDHPs (as well as those resisting these plans), be sure to download UBA’s 2016 Health Plan Survey Executive Summary, a free publication detailing all the comprehensive survey findings.

Employers can also request a custom benchmarking report comparing your specific premiums, contributions, copays, deductibles, etc., to national and regional averages within your industry and group size.

Topics: health plan benchmarking, CDHPs, UBA Health Plan Survey, health plan costs, consumer-directed health plan