Originally posted by United Benefit Advisors (UBA).

Annual Survey Finds Enrollment in Consumer-Directed Health Plans Jumps 22 Percent Despite Increase in Plan Costs

Among employer-sponsored health insurance plans, consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) continue to increase in popularity even though they are offering fewer savings than a year ago, according to the 2016 Health Plan Survey from United Benefit Advisors (UBA), the nation’s largest independent survey of employer-sponsored benefits. UBA finds 26.4 percent of all U.S. employees are now enrolled in CDHP plans, an increase of 21.7 percent from last year and nearly 70 percent from five years ago.

Conversely, CDHP plan costs have risen 2 percent from last year, according to UBA. So while they are still 3.5 percent less costly than the average plan, they offered more savings in 2015 when they were 5.6 percent less than the average plan.

The UBA survey finds that 25.7 percent of plans offered by employers are CDHPs, a 14.2 percent increase in the last five years. Regionally, however, there are major differences in CDHP popularity.

UBA’s survey finds CDHPs account for the following percentage of plans offered by employers:

Northeast 34.4%
North Central 32.5%
Southeast 26.6%
Central 21.0%
West 14.2%

CDHPs have increased in prevalence in all regions except the West, which saw the number of these plans decrease by 7.2 percent from 2015. Despite this decrease in the number of CDHPs offered in the West, there was an 18.9 percent increase in the number of employees enrolled, indicating the continued attraction to the lower premiums of such plans.

While most of the country is experiencing slightly increased premiums, California has enjoyed an 11.4 percent decrease in average single premiums, finds UBA. Employers in this part of the country are actually moving away from CDHPs and toward HMOs, which the survey shows are 9 percent less costly than the average plan.

UBA’s 2016 Health Plan Survey Executive Summary is available at http://bit.ly/UBAsurvey or it can be downloaded directly at http://bit.ly/2016-executive-summary.