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Despite critics' claims that consumer-driven health care is sophisticated cost-shifting, employers say they are reducing employee health care costs while still ensuring employees receive necessary and preventive care.
Just two years after Owens Corning Corp. introduced a CDHP linked to a health reimbursement arrangement, its average health care cost per employee for 2006 fell below that of 2001, said Mark Snyder, director of benefits at the Toledo, Ohio-based manufacturer.
Mr. Snyder was one of the panelists during a March 20 Online Executive ForumTM sponsored by Business Insurance.
Definity Health, a unit of Minnetonka, Minn.-based UnitedHealth Group Inc., also is finding that employers with CDHPs are saving money, said another panelist, Meredith Baratz, vp of market solutions for Definity in New York. She said three-year trend rates for employers offering CDHPs averaged a "minus 5%," vs. an 8% increase for employers with preferred provider organization plans.
But Jim Dwyer, vp of global benefits at American Express Corp., said only a concerted effort to educate employees about costs and continuously communicating plan design changes can achieve such savings.
Jay Savan, a principal at benefit consultant Towers Perrin based in Dallas, projected that 45% of Fortune 1000 companies will implement CDHPs by 2008.
The Webinar, "Mapping Consumer-Driven Health Care: Strategies to Drive Enrollment and Employee Understanding," can be viewed at www.businessinsurance.com/webinars by registering to listen.