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Kaiser finds "traditional" plan deductibles rising

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The average traditional group health plan deductible for single coverage is getting closer to the amount that would qualify the enrollee to open a health savings account (HSA).

Researchers at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation have reported that finding in a report based on a survey of 2,121 U.S. employers.  

To qualify to open an HSA, a worker with single coverage must have a deductible of at least $1,200. The coverage also must meet other HSA program requirements.

About 72 percent of workers in group health plans now have deductibles.

For workers enrolled in the most common type of traditional group health plan — a preferred provider organization (PPO) plan with a deductible — the average deductible for enrollees with single coverage has increased to $733, from $675 in 2011, according to the Kaiser researchers.

For all workers with single coverage, including those with high-deductible health coverage, the average has increased to $1,097, from $991 in 2011, the researchers said.

For workers with single coverage and arrangements that include access to HSA or health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) programs, the average deductible has increased to $2,086, from $1,908.

Other researchers have noted that workers who have access to HRAs or HSAs have not necessarily put much cash into the accounts.

“While many working families have sufficient savings and coverage in case of a medical emergency, the growth in workers’ contributions and cost sharing may increasingly become a financial strain on some households,” the Kaiser researchers concluded in their report.

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