What people think of high deductibles...
We got a lot of feedback on an item last week about the premiums and deductibles in employer-sponsored health plans — the two kinds of health costs most of us face. It's clear that more people are facing high deductibles, and a lot of people don't like them, for obvious reasons: No one wants to pay more out of pocket when they have urgent medical needs.
Turns out, though, that they're not as unpopular as they used to be. The Employee Benefit Research Institute has been conducting surveys of employees' attitudes toward high deductibles for about a decade. Those kinds of health plans are still less popular than traditional kinds of health plans, like PPOs and HMOs — but the margin isn't as lopsided as it was a decade ago.
Here's what the surveys have found:
- Traditional health plans are still the most popular kind of employer health insurance.
- Employees have grown more satisfied over time with high-deductible health plans and consumer-driven health plans. (In the surveys, a CDHP could be paired with either a health savings account or a health reimbursement arrangement, while a HDHP wouldn't have either one, according to EBRI's Paul Fronstin.)
- The gap is closing, and they're clearly not as unpopular as they were in 2005.
- But both kinds of high deductible plans are still below 50% satisfaction rates — meaning there's a substantial number of employees who don't like them.
Between the lines: Fronstin says the differences could be due to the “80-20" rule — 20% of people account for 80% of health care spending. If they're in that group, they're spending the whole deductible, and are understandably upset. If not, the deductible may not matter as much because they're not using it.