58% of employers offer consumer-directed plans

Consumer-directed health plans (CDHP) are now a more popular health plan option offered by employers than HMOs, according to a new survey from Aon Hewitt.

CDHPs, which have high deductibles and are typically combined with a health savings account, have become the second most popular employer-sponsored health plan after PPOs. Their increased popularity shows that employers are looking to defer some health costs. related risk and decision making onto their employees, Forbes reported.

The survey, which was released Monday, found that 58 percent of almost 2,000 employers offered a CDHP in 2011, up from 41 percent in 2010. About 38 percent offered an HMO in 2011, compared to 41 percent in 2010.

"Employers are beginning to explore innovative solutions that focus on both the short-term need to manage healthcare costs and the longer-term requirement to change underlying behavior patterns, shifting the focus from 'caring for the sick' to 'actively managing the health of their employees,'" Maureen Fay, senior vice president and head of Aon Hewitt's CDHP working group, said in a statement.

Despite the rise in CDHPs, PPOs remained the most common health plan that employers offer to their workers with 79 percent of companies including them in their healthcare package in 2011. Only 38 percent of employers offered HMOs, 15 percent offered point-of-service plans, 12 percent offered exclusive provider organization plans and 5 percent offered indemnity plans, according to Workforce Management.

To learn more:
- read the Aon statement and survey
- see the Forbes article
- check out the Workforce Management article