Making the case for account-based health plans

Companies that control their health care costs by aggressively managing their benefit programs and making effective use of account-based health plans, such as health savings accounts and health reimbursement accounts, will pay an average of 12 percent less in premiums this year than will less aggressive companies, according to the 2009 Towers Perrin Health Care Cost Survey.

The survey says that overall, companies will spend $9,552 per employee for health benefits in 2009 — an increase of 6 percent from 2008 (constant dollars). High-performing companies will pay $8,904, compared to $10,104 for low-performing companies. That cost is even lower among high-performing companies that encourage the use of account-based health plans — $7,032. High-performing companies also report that their account-based health plans are 44 percent more likely to report success with meeting objectives to control employee costs. Only 16 percent of low performing companies are meeting objectives for controlling employee costs.

High-performing companies are those that focus primarily on supporting and improving employee health by managing employer and employee costs, enhancing efficient purchasing of health care services, and enhancing employee satisfaction, attraction, and retention. A low-performing company would have higher costs and might not meet all of its goals for managing those costs.

Source: Towers Perrin. 2009 Health Care Cost Survey