High-Deductible Plans and Wellness Programs Keep Health Care Costs Low
Employers' move to high-deductible health plans and greater use of generic drugs and wellness programs are limiting increases in health care costs, with no sign that premiums will surge in the near future. According to a recent survey, premiums for family coverage this year are 26% higher than 2009, a major easing compared with the 72% increase in premium costs racked up from 1999 to 2004.
One Way to Control Health Costs: Health Savings Accounts
The recent release of the largest annual survey of employer-provided health insurance drew renewed attention to the ongoing debate about ways to slow the growth of health costs. The survey provided further evidence of one model making an important contribution in reducing health costs -- health savings accounts. Even after accounting for employer contributions to workers’ accounts, HSA-eligible plans feature much lower premiums than other forms of insurance.
Rule Changes Increase Flexibility in Pretax Health Care Accounts
As open enrollment season approaches for those with workplace health benefits, employees may want to take a fresh look at health care flexible spending accounts, if their employers offer them, because the rules for the accounts have changed.
Last year's change to the longstanding use-it-or-lose-it rule for flexible spending accounts is driving double-digit enrollment growth. Alegeus Technologies said this week that clients who have actively promoted the FSA rollover allowance to their employer groups and eligible employees are seeing 11 percent incremental growth in FSA enrollment and 9 percent growth in FSA elections — compared to a flat overall FSA market growth.
Study Shows Having Price Info Helps People Make Better Healthcare Choices
With more healthcare costs being shifted onto the consumer, payers, providers and policymakers alike are particularly interested in consumer patterns, but so far little research exists beyond the notion that increased choice and price transparency are important benchmarks. UnitedHealthcare sought further understanding, and in a recent study said people who use its estimator are more likely to select high-quality providers than those who don’t use the tool.