More Consumer-Driven Health Plans Offered in 2006

November 3, 2005 ( - A Fidelity Investments study found that 45% of employers plan to offer a consumer-driven health plan (CDHP) option to employees for 2006

In a news release, Marc Hallee, senior vice president of health and welfare consulting for Fidelity Human Resources Services Company, said the increasing commitment of employers to CDHPs as a way to control costs should also increase employee participation rates for 2006. Nearly all of the employers who plan to offer a CDHP in 2006 will position it as a choice instead of a replacement for traditional health plans.

Also in line with current trends, 62% of study respondents said they plan to offer a health savings account (HSA) and 38% said they will offer a health reimbursement account (HRA) coupled with the CDHP, to help employees offset their costs of benefits. Eighty-two percent of respondents said they will employ a high deductible health plan (HDHP) using a preferred provider organization (PPO) for their CDHP option, according to the release.

The study found that the median deductible for these plans will be $1,500 for individuals and $3,000 for families. Respondents’ plans will typically pay 85% of expenses after the deductibles, up to a median maximum of $2,875 for individuals and $6,000 for families.

Although employers expect their costs to decline by offering CDHPs, to $875 per month for family coverage compared to $936 per month for family coverage for non-CDHPs, 85% said they are committed to offering some level of funding through HSAs or HRAs to help employees with their portion of the costs.

Fidelity’s study includes data gathered from an online survey of 86 employers with more than 2,000 employees across all major industries. The company’s Web site is .