Health Plan Deductibles Continue to Rise
ROCKVILLE, MD – August 8, 2018
The average insurance deductible keeps going up, as does the number of people covered by high-deductible plans. And only about half of those people get help from their employers to save up for potential medical bills, according to a new study in Health Affairs.
The study was financed through a group of specialists in the Division of Research and Modeling, the Center for Financing, Access, and Cost Trends, or AHRQ. The study used data from private-sector establishments for 2006, and then in 2016 used the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey–Insurance Component to examine trends in HDHP enrollment and heterogeneity in HDHPs by firm size. They studied insurance plan offerings along the following dimensions: whether employers fund accounts to help offset employees’ out-of-pocket health care spending, the availability of non-HDHP plan choices, and single and family deductible levels. Then the specialists extended the literature by examining these characteristics in detailed firm-size categories, and including all plans with deductibles that met or exceeded Internal Revenue Service thresholds to qualify for health savings accounts.
- In 2006, just 11.4% of private-sector workers had a high-deductible plan. In 2016, that number was up to 46.5%.
- Roughly half of those workers also get an employer contribution to a health savings account or health reimbursement arrangement.
- High-deductible plans are most popular with smaller companies, where employer contributions to an HSA are least popular.
At the smallest companies, about two-thirds of workers didn't have the option of a plan without a high deductible, and don't get employer contributions to an HSA or HRA.