According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, in 2014 high-deductible plans covered about 26 million people, or 14% of the privately insured population. A new report from the organization gives details on enrollee characteristics. (EBRI Report) Men and women were equally likely to be high-deductible plan members and their proportion in that form of coverage was identical to that in more traditional forms of insurance. People enrolled in high-deductible plans are less likely than those in traditional coverage to be between the ages of 21 and 34 and more likely to be between 45 and 54. This age distribution has held steady for several years. A higher percent are non-Hispanic whites than in other forms of insurance. CDHP members are more likely to be in high-income households, those with over $100,000 in annual income. People with incomes under $30,000 are more likely to have traditional coverage. Enrollees in high-deductible plans were twice as likely as those in other plan types to have college or postgraduate education. CDHP-covered persons were also more likely to report being in very good or excellent health. In earlier years, CDHP coverage was more likely to be available from a small employer, those with between 2 and 49 workers. In recent years, however, that gap has disappeared. One interpretation of this data is that more highly-educated, likely professional workers, are more likely to be at a firm that offers CDHP coverage, and because they may often be in better health, may be more willing to enroll in such coverage. Lower income, less educated employees may be more likely to be in union or manufacturing jobs where traditional coverage is still widely available, and they may feel more comfortable with those forms of insurance.
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The Healthy Skeptic is a website about the health care system, and is written by Kevin Roche, who has many years of experience working in the health industry. Mr. Roche is available to assist health care companies through consulting arrangements through Roche Consulting, LLC and may be reached at [email protected].
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