BURLINGTON, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--HighRoads®, the industry leader in plan management and benefits compliance, today released findings from its sixth annual Medical Plan Trends and Observations Report confirming that employers continue to aggressively explore cost-sharing opportunities within their health care plans in 2015.
The significant increase in deductibles reflects an accelerated shift toward consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs), or high-deductible health plans (HDHPs). The report, which is based on an analysis of more than 700 benefit plan designs across all plan types in HighRoads’ patented, award-winning The Lab®, shows that 29 percent of employer plans are high-deductible, up from 22 percent in 2014, a 32 percent increase.
“The report confirms that employers are continuing to shift benefits accountability to employees,” said Kim Buckey, principal, compliance communication services at HighRoads. “With this strategy, employers need to make benefits communication an even higher priority to ensure employees understand the potential upside and cost implications of this emerging model.”
Other notable findings from the report, which is provided annually to help organizations assess plan competitiveness, include:
- Higher out-of-pocket maximums: 71 percent of employer health plans have individual, in-network out-of-pocket maximums (OOPMs) of $2,500 or more in 2015, up from 66 percent in 2014 and 58 percent in 2013.
- Higher emergency room copays: ER copays increased 9 percent, reflecting the rising cost of hospital care as well as the cost-share increase between the plan and participants.
- Higher out of network preventive care copays: Across the board, out of network preventive service costs were higher with the exception of a routine mammogram.
“The report presents a good opportunity for organizations to see how their benefit plans compare to what’s truly happening in the market,” said Buckey. “It also reinforces the importance of crafting clear communications for plan participants that provide cost-saving tips, like why an urgent care clinic may be a better option than the ER.”
HighRoads is providing a free copy of the 2015 Medical Plan Trends and Observations Report.
With more than 16 years’ experience in the benefits market, HighRoads is the industry leader in plan management and benefits compliance. Its patented SaaS-based technology streamlines dynamic data management, optimizes workflow and ensures regulatory compliance. For more information, visit HighRoads.com, become a fan on Facebook, a follower on Twitter (@HighRoadsHR), or read the Compliance Connection blog.