High-Deductible Health Plans, HRAs & HSAs

Consumer-Driven Health Plans (CDHPs) describe a variety of mechanisms for providing health insurance or funding health care costs, all of which encourage individuals to become actively involved in making their own health care decisions and heighten consumer awareness of the cost and utilization of health care services through plan design incentives. Several strategies exist[3]:

  • Modifications to traditional HMO, PPO, and POS benefit plans using plan design elements such as high-deductible, co-insurance and co-payments to provide incentives to plan participants to take a more vested interest in the cost and frequency of services utilized.
  • Tiered networks within an HMO, PPO, or POS  where participants, pay higher co-payments or co-insurance when using higher cost providers.
  • Personal savings type plan where an account – Health Savings Account (HSA), Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) or a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) – is combined with a high-deductible PPO plan to empower the plan participant with greater flexibility and Financial Savings Accounts or Health Reimbursement Arrangements may be rolled over into subsequent plan years.
  • Provision(s) within a plan or an employee contribution strategy where the plan sponsor makes a Defined Contribution toward all or a portion of the cost of benefits. Defined Contribution can have many interpretations as it's applied to healthcare.
CDHPs have surpassed Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) to become the second most common plan design offered by U.S. employers, according to survey findings released in September 2012 by Aon Hewitt.  



Employer Case Study:
Culligan created a comprehensive communications strategy to educate employees about their new HSA medical plan, which includes:
  • Creating a balanced approach to medical coverage
  • Taking an active role in your health care
  • Glossary of terms
  • Elements of the HSA plan
  • Plan features and cost of coverage
  • Using preventive services and early detection
  • How to choose a medical plan (with cost calculator)
  • Saving taxes with the HSA
  • Setting up your account
  • How the HSA works
  • Company contributions                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Click image to see presentation.

In addition to this educational resource, Culligan created 
a brief version of the presentation for managers to help them understand how the program works so they can support and encourage employee’s in the education and enrollment process.  This presentation includes talking points and includes key information provided to employees, including:

  • Key program elements of the HSA plan
  • Plan features and cost of coverage
  • How to choose a medical plan (with cost calculator)
  • Saving taxes with the HSA

Employer Case Study: Life Technologies, a California-based medical research and life sciences company with more than 10,000 employees, shifted its workforce to a CDHP in 2010. Benefits leader Carole Mendoza says the education and communication effort for that change ran the gamut from bathroom newsletters (the old “porcelain press”) to blogs, webinars and social networks. She says Life Technologies offers its workers a health savings account incentive for subscribing to its benefits Twitter account, but that it’s hard to beat basic email for a direct message. Click here to learn more about their move to CDHPs