Wednesday November 26, 2014

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Consumer-Driven Health News



High-Deductible Plans Dominate Next Open Enrollment

From 60 percent to more than 80 percent of plans in a given exchange market could be high-deductible options next year. The proliferation of high-deductible exchange plans highlights the core issue of insurance affordability, one of the basic tenets behind Obamacare. These types of plans have taken off in the employer space in recent years as more companies have tried to stem the tide of growing premium costs by putting more of the expense burden on workers.

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Health Plan Costs Up Slightly; What Employers Are Doing About It

New research by Aon Hewitt shows that HDHPs are the second most popular plan choice offered by companies, surpassing HMOs. Fifteen percent of companies offer a HDHP as the only health plan option today, and another 42 percent are considering doing so in the next three-to-five years.

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More Workers Face High-Deductible Health Insurance

Employers are increasingly pushing enrollment in high-deductible, low-premium health insurance plans, according to benefits experts, which means it might be time to break out the calculator and reconsider current policies. Three-fourths of employers are expected to offer high-deductible plans coupled with a health savings account in the next three years, and 20 percent will only offer those type of plans, according to data from Mercer, a financial services company with a health and benefits arm.

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The Small Change That Can Save You Thousands of Dollars a Year in Health Costs

Of all the decisions that need to be made around open enrollment, one that often gets looked over is the chance to open a health savings account. For some workers, ignoring the tax-deferred accounts is about equal to turning down a check for several thousand dollars. For a family saving the maximum of $6,550, it can translate to more than $2,000 a year in tax savings.

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HSA Account Holders Want More Control

Employees who select health savings accounts as part of their benefits package tend to have strong opinions about how those accounts are managed and which institutions they'd rather see serving as the custodian of their account, according to a new survey from Alegeus Technologies. Overall, the HSA responses pointed to a high level of participant engagement. Despite an apparent grasp of key HSA characteristics, misconceptions remain.

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