CDHPs will need to step up outreach efforts

Well, surprise, surprise. Over 2007, we learned that many employees aren't too excited about current CDHP models, which offload a fair amount of first-dollar responsibility onto them without giving them great tools for managing their own care. Now, the question is whether someone can build a better CDHP, one which actually appeals to employers, employees and health plans all at once.

During 2008, I'd argue, the health insurance industry is going to have do a better job of helping employees understand and use CDHPs. Rolling out a few plan-affiliated health savings accounts won't much to solve this problem--though health education, collection and dissemination of quality information and strategies to help them with deductibles might. (Having employers match HSA funds partly or fully might work, too, and keeps the incentives aligned in the direction they're hoping to see.) It'd also help if more plans create smart exceptions to the big deductibles (for, perhaps, maintenance care for chronic diseases).

Regardless of how it gets done, though, the CDHP movement is going begin to fade away this year if someone doesn't give beneficiaries are reason to sign up and stay enrolled. It's as simple as that.