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Cigna’s customer base for consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) grew by 26 percent in the U.S. in 2012, resulting in one in five of its health insurance customers now participating in a health savings account (HSA) or health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) instead of a traditional health plan, the insurer reported.
The insurer’s Seventh Annual Cigna Choice Fund ExperienceStudycompares the claims experiences of more than 2.5 million customers enrolled in a CDHP, a traditional preferred provider organization (PPO) plan or a health maintenance organization (HMO) plan.
CDHPs are health plans linked to either an employee-owned HSA or an employer-owned HRA (see the SHRM Online article Consumer-Driven Decision: Weighing HSAs vs. HRAs). HSAs must be linked to high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) that have lower premiums and higher deductibles (at least $1,250 for employee-only coverage in 2013) than traditional health plans. Most HRAs are also connected to HDHPs, though there is no statutory requirement for this. With both HSAs and HRAs, contributed funds that the employee hasn't spent during the year to pay for unreimbursed health care costs accumulate and can be used for future health expenses, which is the "skin in the game" that’s meant to encourage employees to make cost-conscious spending decisions and to adopt healthier behaviors.
According to Cigna’s study, CDHP incentives are operating as intended. When compared with customers in traditional PPO and HMO plans, those in a CDHP:
"CDHP customers are more engaged with their health and health spending, they spend less to receive the same levels of recommended care and are more satisfied with their health care experience,” said David M. Cordani, Cigna president and chief executive.
Stephen Miller, CEBS, is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
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