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Research shows robust increases in the adoption of consumer-driven health plans and the number of plan members.

Tuesday, May 2, 2006
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In 2003, Forrester Research Inc. forecasted consumer-driven health plans would enroll 2.7 million members and net $16 billion in premiums in 2005, which turned out to be accurate.

Now, the research giant projects CDHP growth will exceed 6 percent of the commercially insured market by 2007. Enrollment will remain fixed at around 180 million, according to Forrester senior analyst Katy Henrickson.

Such figures are in keeping with the findings of Mercer Human Resources Consulting?s 2005 National Employer-Sponsored Health Plans Survey, released in November 2005. The study surveyed nearly 3,000 employers, and finds that only 2 percent of respondents with 10 or more employees offered a CDHP in 2005, and, of these, 10 percent of employers with up to 9,999 employees offered such a plan.

Nineteen percent of companies with 10,000 to 25,000 employees implemented CDHPs, while offerings rose from 12 percent in 2005 to 22 percent in 2005 among companies with 20,000 employees or more.

Mercer predicts that in 2006, 11 percent of all national employers will introduce CDHP plans. Eleven percent of small companies, 13 percent of mid-size and 29 percent of large companies are expected to offer their employees CDHPs as an option.

The percentage of all national employers likely to offer the plans in 2007 is predicted to grow to 13 percent over the previous year. Of small companies, 13 percent are expected to jump onboard, compared with 17 percent of mid-size companies and 31 percent of large companies.

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CDHPs are the most effective plan design, according to 40 percent of respondents polled in Deloitte?s 2006 Survey on Reducing Corporate Health Care Costs, which was released in February. The survey questioned respondents from 152 large companies.

From 2004 to 2005, the average cost increase was only 2.8 percent for CDHPs, compared to a 7.3 percent average increase for all plan types.

Deloitte predicts the CDHP annual increase in cost for 2006 to be 2.6 percent. About one-quarter of the respondents to the Deloitte survey currently offer a CDHP to some or all of their employees.

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