New research conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that deductibles are increasing for employer-sponsored health insurance. The 2016 Kaiser Employer Health Benefit Survey found that many employers have increased their use of high-deductible plans to mitigate rising costs.
The use of such high-deductible plans has peaked in 2016. For the first time, more than half of employees faced a deductible of at least $1,000 for individual coverage. This marks a 63 percent cumulative increase in health deductibles for individuals since 2011.
Health care premiums for individuals have also been on the rise since 2011. The cost of premiums has increased by 19 percent, and workers are paying higher out-of-pocket costs each year.
Some employers contribute to employee Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to balance out this increase.
“Your typical employer is using everything in the toolkit to control their premiums,” said Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation. “If you want to bring down the premium increase quickly in any given year, the immediate step you can take is to increase deductibles and other forms of cost sharing,” Altman added.
Employers continue to find creative ways to control health care expenditures. Many offer their workers financial incentives to participate in biometric screenings, health risk assessments, and other health promotion programs.
Much of these novel health programs are primarily offered by large firms. For many companies, these costly initiatives are beyond their reach. In fact, there has been an 8 percent decrease in health care offerings for firms with between 10 and 49 employees since 2011, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The decrease in the health care offerings of small businesses is a continuation of a multiyear trend that mirrors the rising cost of healthcare.