More medical groups turn to high deductible health plans for physician coverage

Medical groups, like hospitals and health systems, now take steps to reduce utilization and trim costs within their health insurance coverage options for physicians and families.

Although health insurance benefits are an important recruiting tool, in the face of rising costs, medical groups now offer an average of two health coverage options, according to a survey of more than 40 health systems, hospitals and physician group practices from 23 states by the American Medical Group Association (AMGA).

The most popular options are preferred provider organizations or PPO plans (35 percent), high deductible health plans (HDHPs), consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) (31 percent) and HMOs (10 percent).

The prevalence of HDHPs and CDHPs are part of the trend to hold consumers accountable for utilization, reduce unnecessary care, and focus on catastrophic coverage, noted AMGA in a statement.

The survey also found:

  • The average monthly HDHP deductible is $1,349 or about $300 less than with the average PPO or HMO premiums.
  • Many groups with HDHPs include healthcare savings accounts with tax incentives or employer-funded reimbursement accounts for routine care. 
  • The average annual deductible for HDHPs is $4,198--almost four times the average PPO premium ($1,077) and more than fives times the HMO ($766).

For more information:
- here's the survey (available for purchase)
- read the statement

Related articles:
Survey: Healthcare orgs taking a second look at historically generous employee health benefits
Physicians and business-oriented bosses  clash over healthcare
Employer mandate grows more unpopular
White House set to allow grandfathered plans to continue