A shift to 'consumer-driven' plans
Arrangements that turn more health care control and costs over to employees are gaining traction in the workplace.
Many companies are turning to what are called "consumer-driven health plans" or "consumer-directed health plans," in which the employee manages a tax-advantaged savings account to pay for routine medical expenses. An accompanying health insurance plan covers only catastrophic medical expenses. Typically, a high-deductible health plan is coupled with a health savings account, or HSA.
Seventy-two percent of employers currently offer at least one consumer-driven health plan, according to the National Business Group on Health, and this year, 22 percent of employers planned to offer only this type of health insurance benefit to their workers, up from 19 percent in 2013.
As employers reckon with Obamacare, every health coverage option will come under scrutiny, Fronstin says.
"Employers are trying to figure out, 'OK, how do I find the sweet spot of offering a benefit that I can afford to offer that my employees want?'"