The number of large employers steering their employees into consumer-directed health plans isn’t changing very much. But if the ACA’s “Cadillac Tax” goes into effect as planned, that may start to change as employers look for ways to nudge costs below the level where the tax kicks in. If Congress doesn’t repeal the Cadillac Tax, “we believe more employers will adopt a CDHP strategy in the coming years,” the National Business Group on Health says.
The United Auto Workers has agreed to "find areas of opportunity to reduce cost" if that's needed to stay under the "Cadillac tax" threshold, even if that means charging higher deductibles for plans subject to the excise. More importantly, the union proposed an unusual level of labor-management collaboration to tackle rising health costs. If the new contract is ratified by Chrysler workers, the UAW will take the same proposal into contract negotiations with Ford and General Motors. Does that mean the Cadillac tax is working as intended? Perhaps. It's definitely bringing new urgency to efforts to control costs.
High Deductible Health Insurance Plans Remain a Favorite Among Consumers
Consumers are gravitating toward plans that have higher monthly deductibles in an effort to lower the costs of their monthly premiums. High deductible plans have many advantages, especially for Millennials and Gen X-ers who rarely go to the doctor because they are healthy and do not rely on many prescription drugs. The catch is that the out-of-pocket costs might prove to be a surprise for consumers who don’t budget for meeting the higher deductible.
Employers need to step up their game when it comes to educating workers on how medical spending and health savings accounts work. Just 6 percent of health care industry professionals rated consumer knowledge of health savings accounts, health reimbursement accounts or flexible spending accounts as good, according to a recent study by technology firm Acclaris.