Increasingly, large companies are offering their employees only one option: a plan with a relatively high deductible linked to a savings account for medical expenses.
According to the annual health benefits survey by Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health, 66 percent of companies with 1,000 employees or more offered at least one such plan this year. This figure is expected to grow to nearly 80 percent next year, according to the survey.
For nearly 15 percent of companies surveyed, an account-based plan was the only option -- an increase from 7.6 percent in 2010. Almost 25% of respondents indicated they may offer an account-based plan as their only option in 2014.
Enrollment in account-based plans grew from 15% in 2010 to 30% in 2013.
Other major findings from the 18th Annual Survey include:
Respondents remain committed to offering health benefits -- for now. However, only 26% indicated they are "very confident" that their organization will be offering health benefits 10 years from now. The success/effectiveness of health insurance exchanges and the 2018 "cadillac tax" are probably impacting respondents confidence levels.
The best performers -- employers that have experienced cost trends significantly lower than the survey average -- are focusing on supply-side strategies, including vendor performance targets, cost transparency, value-based benefits, and holding providers accountable.
Read the full report.