Is CDHP the End Game for Cost Shifting

This Emloyee Benefit News article on employers’ commitment to offering health benefits, which cites findings from two new surveys, made me wonder about the longer-term impact of the movement to CDHP plans. A recent SHRM survey documents that a very small percentage of employers (1-2%) are contemplating eliminating health care benefits for their employees, including very small employers. Mercer’s 2014 National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans also found few employers considering an exit strategy – in fact, the fewest in the five years we’ve asked this question. We also documented another year of low cost increases and a surge in CDHP enrollment. My question is this: What will happen once enough employers have achieved sizable enrollment in CDHP plans? We continue to see employee cost-sharing increase in traditional PPOs – but will they continue to raise deductibles and other cost-sharing provisions once they get employees into CDHPs? Will employees be willing to enroll in even higher deductible plans (with lower premiums) once they accumulate some funds in their Health Savings Account? And what will be the impact on how we manage our own health and access to care in the future? Lots to ponder.

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Tracy Watts
by Tracy Watts

Senior Partner, National Leader for U.S. Health Policy

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