Employers Shifting CDHP Contributions to Families

November 3, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Among the covered Americans who have consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs), workers with employee-only coverage have seen their annual employer contributions decrease, while those with family coverage have seen their annual employer contributions increase, according to a new report by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

While the percentage of workers with an HRA or HSA plan whose employer contributes to the account has not changed statistically since 2006, the percentage of employers making contributions dropped from 67% in 2008 to 63% in 2009, according to an EBRI news release.

Between 2006 and 2008, the percentage of workers with employee-only coverage reporting that their employer contributed $1,000 or more to the account increased from 26% to 37%, but in 2009, it fell to 32%. The percentage of workers with an employer contribution of less than $200 increased from 3% to 8% between 2008 and 2009.

Among workers with family coverage, the percentage of workers receiving a contribution of $1,000 or more increased from 59% in 2008 to 73% in 2009.

The report presents findings from the 2008 and 2009 EBRI/MGA Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey and the 2006 and 2007 EBRI/Commonwealth Fund Consumerism in Health Care Surveys.

According to the EBRI report, in 2009, 4% of the adult population with private health insurance was enrolled in an HRA or had a high-deductible plan with an HSA, up 1% from the previous year. An additional 4.9% were eligible for an HSA but did not have such an account. Overall, 8.9% of adults with private insurance were either in a consumer-driven health plan or were in a high-deductible plan that was eligible for an HSA, but had not opened an account.

Among individuals with traditional employment-based health benefits and a choice of health plan, 39% were eligible for a CDHP in 2009, up from 33% in 2006.

While HRAs and HSAs are still less than a decade old and a relatively small percentage of the health insurance market, a significant change continues to occur in the length of time individuals had these accounts. Between 2006 and 2009, the percentage of individuals in these plans for three to four years increased from 9% to 26%, and the percentage in the plans for five years or more increased from 3% to 9%.

Both the amount of money that individuals have accumulated in their accounts and the amounts rolled over from year to year has grown. Those reporting a rollover of $1,500 or more increased from 13% in 2006 to 31% in 2009. The percentage of individuals reporting that they had nothing in their account at the time of the surveys declined from 14% in 2006 to 6% in 2009, while the percentage of individuals reporting an account balance of at least $1,000 at the time of the survey increased from 25% in 2006 to 47% in 2009.

The report, published in the November 2009 EBRI Notes , is available at www.ebri.org .