HealthCare Management

Most People Don't Think High Deductible Health Plans Save Money

46% of HDHPs policyholders report higher health care spending overall

A new survey from suggests that these types of plans may actually not save as much as they thought. Read the report here.

FOSTER CITY, Calif., Jan. 5, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — High deductible health plans (HDHPs), which have lower premiums but higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs, aren’t saving members as much money as hoped. To gauge HDHPs’ effectiveness, researchers surveyed 1,000 policyholders.

In the study, High deductible health plan — What’s an HDHP, Insure finds that:


  • 46% of people with an HDHP said their health costs actually increased and 41% said they stayed the same
  • Even so, 43% believe HDHPs are more cost-effective than other types of plans
  • 40% said they delayed care because of cost

Respondents also comment on their deductibles and health savings accounts. Insure additionally offers pros/cons and advice for those interested in a HDHP.

HSAs Can Make It Easier To Pay Deductibles

“Employers and health insurers are increasingly turning to high deductible health plans to reduce premium costs, believing that they also make people more engaged with their health care,” explains Les Masterson, managing editor for Insure. “However, 40% of those surveyed admit to delaying care when enrolled in an HDHP. Funds from a health savings account (HSA) can make it easier for people to pay high deductibles now, or can be stocked away for future medical needs.”

Insure recently identified the best health insurance companies for 2021. Masterson is available to comment on this and the HDHP research, methodology, and can discuss how survey information may help consumers make informed decisions about the best health care plan to meet their needs.

According to the survey, A key tenet of an HDHP is that it can reduce health care costs — both for employers and employees in lower premiums. However, our Insure survey found that the vast majority of people with a high deductible plan haven’t seen lower health care costs. Forty-six percent of people surveyed said their costs increased and 41% said they stayed the same. A mere 13% said their costs decreased. These findings were nearly identical to 2019’s results when 46% said costs increased, 32% said they remained the same and 11% said they decreased.

Employers and health insurers are increasingly turning to high deductible health plans to reduce premium costs, believing that they also make people more engaged with their health care...

One drawback with an HDHP is that paying more for doctor appointments and tests may make people delay care. The survey found that concern is a reality. Nearly half of people with an HDHP said they’ve delayed care because of cost:

  • 40% said they put off care. This was down from 56% in 2019.
  • 55% said they haven’t delayed care.
  • 5% weren’t sure.

That’s a problem not just for the plan members, but the employer and health insurer, too. Delaying necessary care could lead to more health problems and higher health bills later.

Another concern is that people with high-deductible plans often say their plans aren’t educating them to improve health care decisions. High-deductible health plans were once com

What’s an HSA?

HDHPs are coupled with a health savings account (HSA). You can use the money to pay for health care now or you can save it for later care. HSAs help members pay for their future care. About one-quarter of companies with health benefits offer an HSA in 2020, according to Kaiser Family Foundation.

HSAs are one type of health account. The others are health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs). Unlike HRAs and FSAs, you own an HSA and you can take it with you when you change jobs. HRAs and FSAs belong to the employer.

A member can contribute $3,600 per person or $7,200 for family coverage to an HSA plan per year. People over 55 can contribute another $1,000 on top of those limits.

Contributions are tax-deductible. An employer can also put money into the account to help you pay for health care.




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