Lowering Out-O-Pocket Healthcare Costs

Improving Employee Satisfaction with HDHPs

Despite High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) being around for two decades, employee satisfaction is not as high when compared to more traditional health plans. A recent Employee Benefit Research Institute survey found that only 52% of employees enrolled in an HDHP were extremely satisfied with their plan compared to 66% enrolled in a traditional health insurance plan.

The survey also found that individuals enrolled in HDHPs were satisfied with their quality of care, provider options, and ease of obtaining appointments. However, satisfaction significantly decreased regarding the cost of prescription drugs and other health care services.

There are several ways that employers can help to educate employees and therefore boost satisfaction.

Employers should:

  • Realistically set expectations. Experts argue that it is the perception of the costs that cause individuals to be dissatisfied. When compared to traditional health plans, an HDHP can often have similar or lower total deductibles and coinsurance levels. The biggest cost difference can result from having to pay a contractual or in-network rate (i.e., for a generic drug) instead of a flat co-pay.
  • Help employees understand the plan requirements. Thoroughly educating employees on plan details should be emphasized especially when preparing for open enrollment. Many employees focus solely on premium costs when selecting a plan, so it’s important to go over the common insurance terms and plan requirements for each option.
  • Encourage comparing plans. Some employees select the same plan each open enrollment because they are comfortable with consistency, even if the plan isn’t the best fit for their needs. Employers should encourage their workers to review their costs from last year and gauge their needs for the upcoming year. If certain services or procedures will be needed in the upcoming year, compare the plans to see how coverage changes.
  • Emphasize the importance of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs). When enrolling in an HDHP, some are qualified to work with HSAs or HRAs. These accounts help pay for health care services and can save employees some money. Enrollees should understand the differences between each account and how they can work with HDHP costs.


If you have any questions about how HDHPs work, please contact the dedicated Creative Benefits, Inc. ESR team.