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UBA: Health Account Plan Savings Not So Great

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The cost of employer-sponsored health plans that incorporate a personal account may be rising about as fast as the cost of other types of plans.

United Benefit Advisors, Indianapolis, a group for independent benefits firms, has published that finding in a summary of results from a survey of 10,744 U.S. employers that sponsor about 16,421 health plans.

Health account plans now account for 23% of the plans the employers offer and about 17% of the employees in the plans, UBA reports.

Health maintenance organizations (HMO), in contrast, now enroll only about 12% of the covered employees.

But the average cost increase for all health account plan renewals was 8%, and just slightly below the 8.2% average for all plans, UBA says.

Health account plans typically come with a health savings account or a health reimbursement arrangement (HSA).

The average employer HRA contribution increased to $1,656 this year, from $1,481 in 2010.

Other UBA survey findings:

Preferred provider organization plans now dominate the market; they cover about 64% of all employees in the participating employers’ health plans.

The average employee contribution for all types of plans with employee contributions is $117 for single enrollees and $467 for families.

Because of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA), about 81% of the employers’ plans now offer an unlimited lifetime maximum benefit, up from 16% in 2010.

- Allison Bell

Other UBA coverage from National Underwriter Life & Health: