Study Finds Slight Uptick in Use of CDHPs

March 10, 2008 ( - The American Association of Preferred Provider Organizations' (AAPPO) second annual study of Consumer-Directed Health Plans (CDHPs) found that in 2007, 7% of all employers offered a CDHP, and 11% are very likely to offer a CDHP in 2008.

In a press release, the AAPPO said that while CDHPs are still most common among the largest employers (41% of employers with 20,000 or more employees offered one in 2007), CDHP offerings grew most strongly among small employers in 2007 (from 5% to 7%). Both employers that offer health savings accounts (HSAs) and those that offer health reimbursement accounts (HRAs) cite lowering the organization’s benefit cost (61% for HSAs, 55% for HRAs) and promoting consumerism (57% for HSAs, 62% for HRAs) as the top two reasons for offering these products.

Almost 90% of employers offering a CDHP provide a health information tool, with close to two-thirds giving employees tools to help them select the most appropriate plan based on expected utilization, according to the press release. Sixty percent of large CDHP sponsors indicate that they have seen increased employee utilization of health information tools over the past two years.

Enrollment in CDHPs grew 25% in 2007, from 10 million Americans to 12.5 million. Employees are more likely to feel positive about HRAs (69%) than HSAs (61%), most likely due to HRAs including an employer account contribution, the AAPPO said. Fewer than two-thirds of HSA sponsors make an account contribution.

Among those companies that offered an HSA for three years, average enrollment reached 29% in the third year.

Most of the data for the study was collected through Mercer’s National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans 2007, which included responses from nearly 3,000 organizations with 10 or more employees.

The study results are here .