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Enrollment in consumer-driven health plans on the rise Posted: December 15th, 2010

By Maryalene LaPonsie

Although traditional plans continue to dominate the health insurance market, participation in consumer-driven options continues to grow. The sixth annual Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) shows that enrollment in consumer-driven health plans (CDHP) and high deductible health plans (HDHP) has been slowly on the rise.

The 2010 survey found that 22 million individuals are enrolled in CDHPs and HDHPs. The number of people participating in CDHPs increased from 4 to 5 percent of the privately insured population. Meanwhile, enrollment in HDHPs also increased one percentage point to 14 percent in 2010.

Consumer-driven health insurance features higher deductibles and generally requires greater out of pocket expenses than traditional medical coverage. The intent is to encourage healthy habits and limit the use of unneeded treatments. According to the ERBI survey, the plans may be having the desired affect.

Participants in CDHPs and HDHPs are more likely to participate in health risk assessment programs and less likely to smoke than those in traditional health plans. In addition, they are more likely to inquire into the cost of care and request generic drugs instead of brand name prescriptions.