The Truven Health Blog

The latest healthcare topics from a trusted, proven, and unbiased source.


Consumer Engagement Grows as CDHPs Gain Popularity

By Truven Staff

Consumer-Driven Health Plans (CDHPs) are one of the fastest growing benefit options offered to employees – and soon may become the dominant plan type. In fact, a recent Kaiser/HRET survey found that CDHP enrollment has gone from just 4 percent of all employees who were given that option in 2006 to 20 percent in 2013. 

In order to ensure CDHP members can effectively engage in their healthcare, employers must provide participants with timely access to consumer information tools to help them understand the range and cost of treatments available through plan providers and also information about provider quality. In the absence of this kind of help, CDHP participants are faced with a daunting task to make effective care decisions.

In addition to employees becoming more educated about their own healthcare, the companies they work for are offering new options that provide incentives and potential savings for the enrollees, as well as the employer itself. As part of a recent survey of Truven Health MarketScan™ data contributors, 64 percent of companies stated that they currently offer one or more CDHP options, and 76 percent stated that they will offer one or more in the future. The majority of these options consist of CDHP or high-deductible health plan (HDHP) with a health savings account (HSA) feature. 

This type of growth is leading to a new paradigm in which more patients are taking on a greater role in treatment decision-making. For instance, under a traditional PPO plan in the past, it was very likely that a breast cancer diagnosis would result in a set course of action. However under a well constructed CDHP, the patient can make assessments based on the price she is willing or able to pay, the quality of treatment and providers, and even the best locations to receive the necessary treatment. With the help of her doctors and advisors, she can decide what’s best for her. She is engaged in her own plan for her health and treatment. 

As this substantial shift continues, employers have the ability to empower their employees by providing the opportunity for them to be engaged in their own healthcare decisions, leading to cost-savings for the employee — and the organization.   

To learn more about achieving year-round engagement with your employees, please access this from Truven Health Analytics.

Chris Justice
Senior Director of Practice Leadership

The Time is Now for Employers to Minimize Their “Cadillac” Tax Exposure

By Truven Staff
Chris Justice imageAlthough the employer mandate included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) has been delayed until January 1, 2015, there isn’t time for employers to take a breather. In fact, employers need to use this time to put their PPACA impact analysis and planning into high gear.

In a newly released insights brief from Truven Health Analytics, , we provide some key insights into what employers should be doing this year. One of the most important is to minimize exposure to the 40 percent “Cadillac” excise tax.

Most of us know that employers with self-funded arrangements will pay the tax on their high-cost plans; carriers will pay the tax on insured plans, presumably passing on costs in the form of higher premiums. Employers need to understand what cost-trend rates they need to maintain to minimize or avoid exposure to the tax. In addition, they will need to consider the impact of high-deductible and consumer-driven health plan designs on population health and health risk.

This means that organizations should be focused today on creating comprehensive healthcare cost projections using various trend and plan design assumptions to inform decisions on cost control measures and cost sharing approaches. Modeling “what-if” plans can help employers assess the viability of different benefit plan and premium contribution scenarios, including high-deductible and consumer-driven health plan designs.

Other items on the smart employer’s to-do list right now should be: determining if their plans meet the minimum value and affordability requirements, assessing the impact of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund and Transitional Reinsurance fees, and determining the financial impact of exchange migration.

Download our recent insights brief, .

Chris Justice
Senior Director, Practice Leadership

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