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More Consumers Choosing High Deductible CDHPs

consumer directed health plans - cdhps in texasIn the wake of health care reform, and as consumers scramble to find affordable health insurance plans, more and more people are expected to find coverage through high-deductible consumer driven health plans, or CDHPs. CDHPs are plans that pair high-deductible health plans with health savings accounts, giving consumers more control over their health care expenses.

Experts say that CDHPs are becoming more attractive options because they cost considerably less than traditional health plans, like PPOs and HMOs, and they still meet the minimum requirements of health coverage mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

“Unless there’s a significant change in any of the legislation, CDHPs will remain a viable option post-health care reform,” said Nick Calabrese, a vice president with CIGNA Corp. In fact, the number of CIGNA clients offering CDHPs surged after health care reform, along with enrollment in those plans.

Even before health care reform, more employers were looking into CDHPs like health savings accounts as cost containment strategies. Since CDHPs put consumers in the driver’s seat, the consumer is more conscious of his or her health care expenditures, benefiting both the employee and the employer.

Beyond that, many CDHPs have tax benefits. Consumers can save tax-free money to put toward their health care, and employers likely won’t have “Cadillac” taxes levied against their plans, as they’re typically below the Cadillac tax threshold.

“In some significant ways, health care reform is good for consumer-driven health plans since they tend to be more affordable,” said Helen Darling, president and CEO of the National Business Group on Health in Washington. “On the employer side, we are seeing more interest in, and transition to, full replacement CDHPs,” she added. “We also see more CDHPs as a choice and, as employee costs climb, we anticipate that more employees will find them attractive, because the contributions tend to be lower.”

Employers’ offering their employees more choices is always a good thing. And when employees can choose plans that put them in control of their finances, costs are lowered across the board. Here’s hoping that more and more consumers see the benefits of high-deductible CDHPs in Texas and across the country, both as a great health care option and as a way to lessen the burden of ObamaCare.

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