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Average deductible in employer healthcare plan hits nearly $1,500

Source: Employee Benefits News

Workers enrolled in employer-sponsored healthcare plans are paying an average deductible of $1,491 for individual coverage and nearly $2,788 for family coverage, according to a new survey from the nonprofit International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

That’s up from roughly $1,300 for single coverage and $2,500 for family coverage in 2016, says Julie Stich, associate vice president of content at IFEBP.

Stich anticipates that deductibles will likely stay consistent in 2019, saying that companies that are projecting healthcare increases are not seeing anything that’s “double-digit or wildly dramatic” in the next year.

Deductibles for current employees vary widely by the type of health plan they choose, according to the survey. Employees in high-deductible health plans, for instance, have average deductibles of $2,296 for single coverage and $4,104 for family coverage, more than double that of traditional, non-high-deductible plans, which average $932 and $1,931, respectively.

A lucky 7% have no deductible at all for either individual or family coverage, according to the survey.

“It’s always interesting to me to see how deductibles are shaking out from year to year,” Stich says, noting that they were only $100-$200 when she entered the industry 30 years ago.

The report holds better news for employees with regard to the share of the healthcare premiums they pay, which appears to be holding steady at 23% for single coverage and 31% for family coverage. Their share of the premium cost is up less than 1% over the last four years, IFEBP says.

Workers also are seeing a wide mix of plan types from which to choose, including high-deductible health plans with health savings accounts, which employers increasingly are making available to their workforces. Almost three in five employers (59%) now provide such plans, up from 46% in 2014.

Despite their growing prevalence, high-deductible plan still have a long way to go to surpass preferred provider organization (PPO) plans, which are offered by 73% of employers. Another 26% offer health maintenance organization (HMO) plans, the survey shows.

With the rise in high-deductible plans, employees need to understand the trade-off between paying lower premiums and having higher deductibles, according to Stitch.

“What’s really important for them is to figure out what their potential out-of-pocket healthcare expenses will be for the upcoming year,” she says. “That amount of money that you might be spending to cover the deductible before your insurance kicks in may negate any savings that you might end up getting by going with a plan that has a lower premium.”

The survey canvassed 677 U.S. members of the IFEPB in February. The survey was conducted online.

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