Employers Promote High-Deductible Health Plans
Employers are working to increase workers' awareness of heath care cost increases as the open enrollment period for health plans "goes into high gear at many companies," the Wall Street Journal reports.
According to the Journal, the efforts to "get workers to do the math" on health care costs "are coming chiefly from employers that are offering workers new 'consumer-driven health plans,'" which often have deductibles of at least $1,000 and cost less for employers than plans with lower deductibles. Some employers have required employees to select health plans, regardless of whether they remain with their current plans, to prompt them to consider high-deductible health plans, and others have offered employees online tools to help them make selections.
In addition, some employers have offered employees customized health plans. Employers hope that employees who select high-deductible health plans will become "more careful consumers and reduce their health care spending over the long run," the Journal reports.
High-deductible health plans might cost less for some employees, such as those who have low health care costs. Employees who consider high-deductible health plans should ensure that they "could quickly meet" their deductible in the event of a "costly health problem" and should examine the "tools the insurer offers to help ... research costs and the quality of the medical providers and services offered," according to the Journal (Rubenstein, Wall Street Journal, 11/7).