Enrollment Data Shows Group Health Plan Choice Continues to Expand

Enrollment Data Shows Group Health Plan Choice Continues to Expand

As health care costs continue to rise, employers continue to look for ways to keep health care spending down where possible. In recent years, the high-deductible health plan (HDHP) has become an increasingly popular tool to aid in this effort, providing a lower-cost alternative to more traditional health plans like PPOs and HMOs.

In Benefitfocus' State of Employee Benefits research series, now in its third year, we've tracked the growth of HDHP offerings among large employers across the country—based on actual open enrollment data from customers on the  BENEFITFOCUS® Platform. And since 2016, we've seen the share of groups offering at least one HDHP increase by more than 20 percent.

 

This growth has primarily come from the expansion of medical benefit offerings that include both HDHPs and traditional health plans. Two years ago, such offerings were present among just over half of large employers. For 2018, that's up to nearly two thirds—an increase of 25 percent.

Meanwhile, instances of "full replacement," in which HDHPs are the only plan type offered, have essentially remained flat since 2016, with no more than 6 percent of large groups using this strategy over the three years Benefitfocus has captured this data. It would appear that, for the most part, employers are hesitant to abandon traditional health plans, recognizing a need to maintain a certain degree of choice for employees.

So, what are employees doing with that choice?

Download the full State of Employee Benefits 2018 report to see the latest trends in health plan participation, as well as insight into key factors influencing employee decision-making during open enrollment.

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