Consumer-driven, high-deductible plans grow

Although participation in consumer-driven and high-deductible health plans remains low, it continues to grow, reaching 22 million customers this year, according to a new report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

The report found that enrollment in consumer-driven health plans (CDHP) rose to 5 percent of the privately insured population--5.7 million people--in 2010, up from 4 percent in 2009. Participation in high-deductible health plans (HDHP) increased to 14 percent of the privately insured population--17.2 million people--this year, up from 13 percent in 2009, reports CQ HealthBeat.

People who enroll in these plans are more cost-conscious than those who have traditional health insurance policies--53 percent routinely check to see whether their plan would cover specific care, compared with 47 percent of traditional policyholders. Likewise, more than 50 percent check if a generic drug is available, compared with 44 percent in traditional plans, CQ reports.

In addition, CDHP and HDHP enrollees were more likely than traditional plan enrollees to choose doctors based on their use of health information technology. CDHPs enrollees also were more likely to exercise and less likely to be obese compared with traditional health plan enrollees, according to the EBRI.

Paul Fronstin, director of the Institute's Health Research and Education Program, believes employers who offer their workers coverage are turning to these plans to control costs, notes MSNBC.

To learn more:
- here's the EBRI press release
- see the MSNBC article
- read the CQ HealthBeat article (reg. required)