Employers Turn To CDHPs, Wellness

Faced with continually rising health care costs, employers are looking to consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) and wellness programs to keep them down. There was a 43 percent increase in the number of CDHPs offered this year, compared to 2007. These plans make up nearly 13 percent of all plan offerings by employers. The percentage of employees enrolled in CDHPs nearly doubled from 2006 through 2007.

The findings, presented in the 2008 United Benefit Artists Health Plan Survey, also show that PPOs continue dominating the market with nearly 54 percent of plans offering this type of coverage and with nearly two-thirds of employees enrolled. HMO enrollment continues to slip and now represents 21.3 percent of plans offered, with only 13.3 percent of employees enrolled.

“The continued growth of CDHPs is a key headline to come out of the survey,” says Bill Stafford, UBA’s vice president for member services. “Fee-for-service and exclusive provider organizations have virtually disappeared.”

Employers are also increasingly offering comprehensive wellness programs to their employees. In fact, nearly 1 in 10 (9.8 percent) employers offers wellness programs in 2008, compared to just 7.4 percent in 2007. Of the employers that offer wellness programs, 79 percent include health risk assessments; 35 percent include seminars or workshops; 39 percent include on-site coaching or coaching by telephone for high-risk employees; and 40 percent offer biometric screening or physical exams.

Half offer incentives for participating in wellness programs.