Oct 30, 2019

Employers are relying less on high-deductible health insurance plans

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Some employers are returning to offering traditional health insurance plans again, as opposed to relying solely on those with high deductibles, Kaiser Health News reports with NPR.

Driving the news: The percentage of companies offering high-deductible plans as the only coverage option is declining for the third year in a row in 2020, per a survey of large employers by the National Business Group on Health.

  • Only 25% of firms will offer them as the only option next year, which is 14 percentage points less than two years ago.

Employers say that offering plans with no or lower deductibles can be a recruitment tool, and some employees would rather have higher premiums in exchange for more predictable health care costs.

Yes, but: High deductible plans are still popular; 58% of employees with health coverage worked at a company that offered at least one high-deductible plan in 2019, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Our thought bubble: The push of health care costs onto employees via their out-of-pocket costs has been unpopular and untenable, and employers are responding.

  • Also untenable: The rising overall cost of employer health care.

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