Thursday, November 16, 2006

CDHC: Smaller Increases?

Deloitte Consulting recently surveyed about 150 large employer groups, and found that Consumer Driven plans (CDHP) experienced lower rate increases than their "generic" cousins. Now, this was on "large" groups, which probably included quite a few self-funded plans; I'm not comfortable (yet) extrapolating from this survey to small groups. Still, it shows a definite trend, which is good news.
Among the other findings in this survey:
■ the rising cost of health care benefits was a primary factor driving respondents' health care strategy
■ extensive plan designs, increased utilization and cat claims were cited as having major impact on medical plan costs
■ most employers believe that CDHP offers the most effective approach for managing costs and maintaining quality care
One of the challenges cited by folks who are wary of CDHC is the perception that it's all about shifting cost onto employees. Obviously, there is some truth to this: higher deductibles (even with lower total out of pocket exposure) means that folks need to become more involved in their health care decision-making. On the other hand, encouraging employees to become better health care consumers, along with wellness programs and disease management programs, were cited by 38% of the respondents as important, which would seem to mitigate this. That's almost double the percentage of just 3 years ago, when only 21 percent of respondents gave that answer.
Now that's progress.
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