Employers Reluctant to Throw Out High Deductible Health Plans
Health Insurers and brokers design health plans with employer costs in mind, not individual employees. That means they design plans that allow employers to pass along any cost for health insurance to employees. To let their employer clients know that they have factored in the bottom line, they trot out their displays showing what the Employee Pays and the Employer Pays. Most workers receive an abridged version of these charts that typically only list what the Employee Pays. These employer-based plans then become the default plan health insurance companies and brokers sell to individuals.
Even with the negative publicity high deductible plans have received since the rollout of the exchanges, employers, health insurers and brokers have shown no desire to back away from this type of plan design. In fact, they seem to be doubling down on these plans by increasingly making them the only plan option available to employees. However, there is indication that employers realize that employees won’t be able to bear the movement from high deductible to very high deductible health plans that is already taking place.
Employers Are Slowly Starting To Tinker With High Deductible Health Plan Design
Although employers continue to use HDHPs in increasing numbers, they are looking for ways to make them more palatable to employees. One way they are doing this is to use value based insurance (health plan) design. With value based health plan design, a health plan may provide cash or premium reduction incentives to participants that get an annual check up. It may waive the deductible, coinsurance or copay amount for certain prescriptions drugs and other care that has proven to have high value. Low value services would have higher cost sharing. Continue Reading...
Health insurance companies are fresh out of ideas on how to save employers money. But saving employers money was never their primary purpose anyway. Their primary purpose is to maximize their own profits. So after teaching employers all of their best cost-shifting tricks over the last few decades, they are exploring other revenue-generating options.
What’s Going on With the Big Health Insurance Companies?
The rollout of Obamacare provided large health insurers with a glimpse of their future. This future includes greater competition and less bargaining power with providers. There are several telltale signs of these changes, but here are four that get my attention.
- They no longer have the benefit of price secrecy as their competitors can now see how they price their products on federal and state exchanges
- They are struggling to maintain their networks and bargaining position with medical providers and hospitals as these entities consolidate
- They let private employee benefit consulting firms like Aon Hewitt, Towers Watson and Mercer take the lead in the private exchanges movement. I am not convinced their hearts are in it and believe the only reason they are creating their own exchanges is because their competitors are, and
- They are looking more like IT companies than health insurers...