Americans increasingly prefer a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) to one with a high monthly premium but a low deductible, according to a recent Bankrate Health Insurance Pulse survey. There are divides among age groups and income brackets, however.
Among the 1,004 adults surveyed, 44 percent said they prefer a HDHP, while 36 percent would rather enroll in a high-premium, low-deductible plan. Nine percent don't have a preference, and the remaining 11 percent didn't know or refused to answer.
A HDHP is more popular among Americans with an annual income or more than $50,000, compared to those earning less than that. Americans older than 50 also are partial to the HDHP, while those between 18 and 29 years old tend to prefer higher premiums, Bankrate said.
The preference for HDHPs could spell trouble for both consumers and payers. While so-called high-deductible "copper plans" could reduce federal healthcare spending by nearly $6 billion in the next decade, as FierceHealthPayer previously reported, high deductibles can cause Americans to delay medical care. Because delayed care often leads to more expensive care, high deductibles could end up costing insurers more money.
That's why insurers must educate consumers about the pros and cons of high-premium plans, HDHPs and health savings accounts, Bankrate insurance analyst Doug Whiteman told BenefitsPro.
"Especially for older Americans who may require more doctor visits than their younger counterparts, a low premium/high-deductible plan could actually cost more in the long run," Whitman said.
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