We used to think about high-deductible health insurance as a health insurance of last resort for small businesses and self-employeds, but lately we’ve been hearing more and more stories like this one:
Angela Wenger calls herself a self-reliant “German Midwesterner” who hates to complain. But the Wisconsin mom was dismayed when husband Dan’s employer switched to an insurance plan that increased the family’s medical expenses tenfold.
Two years ago, the company put white-collar workers on a “high-deductible” plan similar to those typically bought by small businesses and individuals. The Wengers’ out-of-pocket medical costs, mainly for treating daughter Emma’s juvenile arthritis, soared from a few hundred dollars a year to $7,000, she says.
The employer: General Electric, one of the largest companies in the world. High-deductible health plans, once deemed a last-resort, “catastrophic” alternative for those with few resources, have gone Fortune 500.
“A number of employers have looked at this over the last couple of years, and they’ve said, ‘No, this isn’t the year, no this isn’t the year,’ ” said Mark Olson, a senior actuary at benefits consultant Towers Watson. For many, he says, this is the year.
“I don’t really see it stopping at this point,” he said.
Has your employer switched to a high-deductible health insurance plan? Tell us about it discussion forum!
- Open Enrollment: Is High-Deductible Health Insurance the New Normal?
- Open Enrollment: Is Your Employer Pushing You To High-Deductible Health Insurance?
- High-Deductible Health Insurance Follow-up: High-Deductible Health Insurance and Health Savings Accounts
- Cost of Health Insurance Benefits Up 9%, Employees Turn to High-Deductible Plans
- Americans on High-Deductible Health Insurance and HSAs Jumps