Employees Taking Harder Look at Health Insurance

December 19, 2008
Special Feature

For several years the trend in health insurance, especially in larger companies, is to shift more of the cost of coverage to the employees. One strategy is to offer employees a choice between a high-deductible, high co-payment plan with lower premiums; and a plan with lower deductibles and co-pays that will cost the employee more in premiums.

For several years the trend in health insurance, especially in larger companies, is to shift more of the cost of coverage to the employees. One strategy is to offer employees a choice between a high-deductible, high co-payment plan with lower premiums; and a plan with lower deductibles and co-pays that will cost the employee more in premiums. According to a recent survey, the percentage of workers choosing the higher-premium plans this year is half of what it was last year.

Last year, 38% of the employees surveyed opted for the plan with the higher premiums and lower out-of-pocket costs. That number dropped to 19% this year. Although the survey researchers theorize that some of the workers may have done an analysis of actual expenses to see which plan was better, they also believe that many were simply choosing the plan that that put more money in their paycheck.

The survey, which was done last Spring, also showed that 17% of the workers had skipped a doctor visit to save money. The survey team noted that this figure, like others in the survey, may have changed significantly as a result of the severe downturn in the economy over the past few months.