‘Consumer-Directed’ Plans Rise In Popularity As Businesses Scramble To Cut Health Costs
High-deductible health insurance plans coupled with health savings accounts (tax-advantaged funds for covering medical costs), are becoming the plan of choice for Connecticut's small businesses newly offering insurance to employees, Hartford Business reports. The plans, called "consumer-directed health plans," make up 60 percent of the insurance company Aetna's new small business sales. Nationally, the number of people with these plans rose from 3.2 million in 2006 to eight million this year.
Consumer-directed plans allow businesses to pay lower premiums to cover their workers. "Employers who offered the plans as an option experienced savings of $7 million per 10,000 members over the five-year period, according to the company's survey." Companies located in the Northeast "have been slower to adopt consumer-directed plans because they have traditionally offered richer benefits than other parts of the country," Hartford Business reports (Bordanaro, 7/6).