Compare Health Insurance Industry’s Consumer-Directed Plans

While high deductible or personal savings account health insurance plans are not new, they are very trendy right now and the number of workplaces offering such plans is increasing.  This information comes from the Yahoo! Health article “Study: Savings and risk in health insurance trend,” by Ricardo Alonso-Zalidivar.  When President George W. Bush was in office, he promoted what he called health savings accounts hoping that having Americans more involved in their health insurance would lead to lower costs.  These plans have stayed around since then, even though there are more often called consumer-directed plans now.  Employers save money when their employees enroll is this type of plan.  Currently, one out of every six workers is using a consumer-directed health insurance plan.

Compare health insurance rates for consumer-directed plans and the premiums are much lower than with traditional health insurance plans.  In exchange for lower premiums, deductibles that have to be met yearly are much higher.  Employers help contribute to medical accounts with tax savings to help offset the added deductible expenses.  These consumer-directed plans can help employers save billions of dollars on their health care costs.  But some worry that there are added risks to overall American health, which could lead to an unfortunate increase in health care costs overall.

There is concern that higher deductibles will keep moderately healthy people away from the doctor until they get very sick because they have to pay so much to meet their deductibles.  While most preventative services are covered at no extra cost, it appears as though many people using consumer-directed plans didn’t know that and have skipped routine doctor visits.  If consumers cut too many of their preventative services, they may not be diagnosed with problems until it puts a serious strain on their health and overall health care costs.  For those using this type of health insurance plan, make sure you know all of the services covered without effecting your deductible.

Some people are worried that as more healthy people flock to consumer-directed plans, health insurance rates for traditional insurance plans will go up because most of the people need more medical care.  A recent study showed that health care savings could top $57 million if half of Americans moved to this lower cost type of plan.  Americans using less health care would account for 2/3 of the savings, with the rest coming from making less expensive health care decisions like using generic drugs.  This can be a great cost cutting health care solution for employers, Americans just need to make sure they are still seeking preventative care before getting seriously ill.

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