NU Online News Service, Dec. 3, 9:03 a.m. – Although only 4% of companies with more than 1,000 employees now offer a “consumer-directed” Web-based health care plan, next year will be a breakout year for such plans, according to a forecast from Forrester Research Inc., Cambridge, Mass.

E-health plans, which enable employees to choose their care online, will be offered by 16% of large employers in 2003 and 24% in 2004, Forrester predicts.

Most large employers want provider cost data and health care spending accounts with a provision for rolling over unspent funds to be part of their e-health plans, Forrester reports. The research firm says many employers also want employees to be able to use the Web to handle basic administrative tasks themselves.