High-deductible health insurance enrollees are on the increase

High-deductible health insurance enrollees are on the increase

With a down economy, Americans are changing their health insurance plans to those with higher deductibles, but lower premiums.

Health Care Professionals are concerned that patients will not get their routine care, possibly causing serious ailments going undiagnosed.  In the long run, this could cost more money because they may end up in the hospital or emergency room.

According to Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust’s survey, since 2006, the number of employees with high-deductible plans has almost tripled in companies with less than 200 employees. This brings it up to 11.7 million this year.  From 2006 to 2009 the number of employees in this category more than tripled in California, increasing to 674,000 employees.

The number of employees enrolled in high-deductible plans is expected to go up this month with the new enrollment process.  Employers may be forcing their employees into the plan or they may choose it voluntarily.

A recent survey of employers uncovers that over the past four years, the number of employees with individual deductibles of at least $1,000 has almost tripled, bringing it to about 20 million.  Some deductibles are as high as $10,000 per year.  As a result, people are not visiting the doctor as frequently. They are also not receiving routine procedures like blood test and colonoscopies.

In recent years, employees and companies in financial distress have turned to high-deductible medical plans to reduce their costs.  Small companies have found that if their employees have a high-deductible plan it lowers the premiums which makes it cheaper for the company if they pay part or all of their employees’ health insurance.

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