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Consumers and Employees are Ready to Drive


February 27, 2012

It might ring like some kind of campaign rhetoric you might hear on the stump in a battleground state like Ohio, but it’s true: Even though they’re barely 11 years old, consumer driven health plans are our future.

It’s the only sustainable alternative to the wasteful, carefree and ultimately just too expensive system we’ve been operating under for decades.

Don’t take my word for it, look around. Just last week, we ran not one, but two, stories about record HSA growth at separate financial institutions. It seems to be the only good news you hear about from banks these days.

But the good news doesn’t end there. Employers — and even more importantly, employees — are winning, too. A new study from Cigna reveals active CDHP participants slashed their annual health care costs by nearly $10,000. But it’s not just about the money. Wellness plans — which often go hand-in-hand with these programs — help cuts employee risk profiles by 10 percent, according to the study.

Employers are often skeptical when it comes to letting employees make their own health care decisions, as if they’re handing the keys to the family sedan to a heady 16-year-old boy. But employees, who seem to be embracing this trend faster than expected, have behaved far better. These health care drivers take better care of themselves, become more savvy health care shoppers and have ultimately helped stem the tide of rising medical inflation. In fact, the study also points out that this new breed of health care consumer actually tends to receive better care when they actually need it.

At the end of the day, by empowering your employees to take the reins of their own health care decisions, you have a healthier work force (which tends to actually show up at the office and be more productive) while spending less at the doctor’s office.