The new study from Frost & Sullivan U.S. Consumer Directed Health Plan Markets finds that premium revenues for the market were $39.7 billion in 2006 and is likely to reach $399.1 billion in 2012.
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“Employers are continuing to look for solutions to reduce their economic burden from increasing health insurance premiums,” says Frost & Sullivan Senior Research Analyst Matthew Guldin. “CDHPs present an opportunity for employers to reduce health insurance premiums by increasing customer awareness of costs, and engaging customers to become proactive in their use of healthcare services.”
The healthcare industry realizes that greater transparency of healthcare quality and cost information would allow customers to adopt healthy behaviors, understand medical treatment options, actively participate in decisions, and adhere to treatment regimens. There is also consensus that the current available information on price and quality comparisons is inadequate to support consumers’ purchasing decisions.
During the enrollment period, it is vital that health insurers work in coordination with an employer’s human resource department to develop a robust education strategy regarding CDHP plans. This strategy should involve distributing information in multiple forms, as well as actively engage employees through face-to-face meetings.
A collaborative effort between insurers and employers will also helps ease the ’deductible shock’ customers suffer, when they transfer from a traditional health plan, such as a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), to a CDHP, which demands higher premiums.
One way to tackle this would be offering CDHPs along side more traditional plans. This will allow consumers to have some discretion in choosing their health plan. Additionally, employers can choose to share cost-savings obtained through the CDHP plan with employees by contributing to either the health savings account (HSA) or health reimbursement arrangement (HRA).
Overall, the multiple benefits CDHP offers – lower healthcare costs through reduced utilization and use of lower-cost services, improved customer satisfaction, better health outcomes with appropriate care, and more healthy lifestyle-choices by engaged customers – position it as a potent idea in U.S. healthcare reforms.
U.S. Consumer Directed Health Plan Markets, part of the Healthcare & Life Sciences IT Subscription, examines the mentioned market, discussing the current market drivers, industry challenges, and restraints, and provides strategic recommendations to vendors to achieve long-term success in the market. The study covers HSAs and HRAs. Interviews with the press are available.
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