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Enrollment in high-deductible plans continues to rise

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Enrollment in high-deductible health insurance plans, including consumer-driven health plans, continues to climb, the National Center for Health Statistics said in a report Tuesday.

In 2014, 36.9% of those under age 65 with private health insurance coverage were enrolled in a high-deductible plan, defined as plans with deductibles of at least $1,250 for single coverage and $2,500 for family coverage, according to the report. Private health insurance coverage includes both employment-based coverage and individual policies.

Of that 36.9%, 13.3% were enrolled in CDHPs, which are high-deductible plans linked to health savings accounts, while 23.6% were enrolled in high-deductible plans not linked to HSAs.

Both types of plans have been growing rapidly in recent years. For example, in 2009, just 6.6% of the under age 65 population with health insurance coverage were covered in a CDHP compared with 2014's 13.3% coverage rate.

In addition, last year's 23.6% coverage rate in high-deductible health insurance plans compares to just 15.9% in 2009.

The key reason for the growth of high-deductible plans is their lower cost. For example, a Mercer L.L.C. survey released late last year found that CDHPs cost roughly 20% less per employee than more traditional plans.