[Welcome Kaiser readers!]
At my request, FoIB Rick Byrne sent me some interesting new stats on enrollment numbers vis: High Deductible Health Plans. Earlier this month, I noted industry-wide numbers reflecting major growth in the number of folks signing up for HSA's and other consumer driven health plans.
Warning: Extreme wonkiness and geekitude follow.
Rick has graciously shared some carrier-specific info, and agreed to let me share it with our readers. Of course, as a Buckeye, I was most interested in how many Ohio insureds went the HDHP route, and I wasn't disappointed. Aetna Health Fund reports some 35,000 Ohio enrollees, although they didn't specify whether these were HSA's, HRA's or some other configuration. Texas led the list, with over 46,000 folks opting for one of these types of plans.
Interestingly, California placed only third, with just over 30,000.
CIGNA's numbers reflect those consumer who chose Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), and once again, the Lone Star State led the pack, with almost 68,000 participants. North Carolina took second place, with almost 60,000, and California again managed only to "show,: reporting just over 40,000 enrollees.
Health insurance Bad Boy UnitedHealthcare reported their HRA and HSA numbers as a group, so we don't have a breakdown by configuration. I'd like to have that, because it's my opinion that Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) are more likely to result in overutilization than their HSA cousins.
UHC's Sunshine State insureds beat out the folks from Texas by over 70,000 participants. New York took the third place slot, while Ohio was a distant fourth.
So what does this all mean?
I think that it indicates a growing acceptance of consumer-centric health care. After all, when the insured has "skin in the game," he's more likely to be interested in actual cost of care, not just premium outlay. Of course, this is by no means an overwhelming endorsement: after all, we're talking about tens of thousands of folks out of millions who may be eligible. Still, I think it's a positive sign that folks are beginning to understand that low co-pays and expensive drug cards may not be the most efficient use of their health care dollars.