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Study: Consumer-Driven Health Plans on the Horizon

Health care costs have continued to skyrocket and every politician, business owner and employee is trying to find ways to cut costs. The recent Buying Trends Study, released by the National Association of Health Underwriters and ChapterHouse LLC, shows that nearly 90 percent of insurance agents and brokers predict that the health insurance market will look remarkably different within the next five to 10 years. They predict a shift away from traditional plans and a migration to consumer-driven health plans. With open enrollment season upon us, consumers have a chance to evaluate these consumer-driven plans and decide if these new options might be right for them. Past editions of this study have accurately predicted other health care changes, so these findings carry a great deal of weight among industry leaders. Consumer-driven health plans, which include health reimbursement accounts and health savings accounts, are high-deductible medical plans that are coupled with a savings account.

Employees can use those funds to pay their health care costs. With lower premiums than traditional health insurance plans, consumer-driven health plans enable consumers to choose what kind of health care services they would like to receive, making them more active participants in the decision-making process. Nearly 30 percent of employers are planning to offer these consumer-driven health plans, and employees will need to determine if they are ready to switch to this new way of approaching health care. The study also revealed that there is not much hope for those awaiting nationalized health care. Only 3 percent of respondents felt that there was a likelihood of adopting a single-payer system and only 7 percent saw U.

government mandates in America's future. While the future of health care is still unknown, the study predicts that America is headed toward private market initiatives to help solve this crisis.


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