High deductible health plans are becoming the new norm for employers interested in consumer-directed health plans. A high-deductible health plan is an insurance plan that has both higher deductibles and lower premiums. It is intended to incentivize consumer-driven healthcare, making it opposite to a traditional health plan.

In 2010, zero people had a high-deductible health plan. Now it’s 1 in 5 American workers according to the Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit that represents businesses that purchase health benefits for their employees. The reason for the shift is savings.

Moving to High Deductible Health Plans

In a recent study, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that companies that offered high-deductible plans saved 5 percent more in healthcare costs than companies that didn’t offer them. That was for the whole company, whether or not all workers took the high-deductible option.

The thinking goes that costs will drop when consumers have more at stake with their healthcare whether or not they’re making medically wise choices.

At Marathon Health, we’re often asked how high deductible plans work with onsite health centers. Here’s some information that should prove helpful.

If a consumer-directed health plan is to be successful, participants need a system, support and tools for making healthcare decisions. Providing a high deductible plan without this almost ensures that people will not seek needed treatment or get the care they need to avoid the cost of the high deductible plan. The Marathon Health model provides this “safety net” for participants in a high deductible plan with onsite healthcare (the system), health coaching, condition management, preventative and acute care (support) and our eHealth Portal (tools) to access care and work toward optimal health. Our clinicians also help patients navigate the healthcare system to help them determine the most appropriate resources required for their care.

With high deductible plans, we can help collect and report the cost of visits so patients can receive credit toward their insurance deductible. Members enrolled in an HRA receive a receipt that clearly outlines services rendered and associated costs. But most importantly, we can help improve the health of the population one patient at a time!


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