WASHINGTON, March 15 (UPI) -- Forty percent of U.S. employers now offer or plan to offer a health savings account to workers, according to a new report.
Also, 26 percent of employers either offer or plan to offer a health reimbursement account, according to a survey of 573 large companies released Thursday by Watson Wyatt Worldwide and the National Business Group on Health.
The survey showed the number of employers offering consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) has picked up substantially, compared with 2002 market penetration of the plans, which typically consist of a high-deductible plan coupled with a HSA or an HRA.
The study showed uptake of CDHPs jumped from 33 percent to 38 percent in the last year.
The survey also revealed a steady rise in the plans' popularity in the past five years, with 2 percent of employers offering the plans in 2002, 5 percent in 2003, 11 percent in 2004 and 21 percent in 2005.
"Curbing healthcare cost increases is a puzzle for employers, and
consumer-directed health plans are only one piece," said Ted Nussbaum,
Watson Wyatt's director of group and health care consulting in North
"Employers can offer these plans, but it takes more than that to
get employees to enroll. Filling in the missing pieces of quality, health
management and education will not only help employers solve the puzzle, but
also make these plans more attractive to employees."