High-deductible plans rise in higher ed

August 10, 2017

High-deductible plans rise in higher ed

Inside Higher Ed

Colleges and universities increasingly offered high-deductible health plans, health-care benefits for part-time employees and stand-alone vision plans in 2017, according to a new survey. They continued to offer health-care benefits to domestic partners at high rates.

But in a move that some employees probably won't like, colleges and universities also demonstrated more interest in wellness programs.

Those are key points in a report released this month by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources. The report covers survey responses from 358 institutions of different classifications and affiliations from across the country.

High-deductible plans were the second most popular type of plan to offer, behind more traditional preferred provider organization plans, which were offered by 84 percent of institutions. Those PPO plans were far and away the most likely type of plan to be offered in cases when an institution only offered one health plan option, however.

Wellness programs, which attempt to encourage employees to adopt healthy lifestyles and get preventive care in order to head off expensive chronic health problems, can be controversial among faculty members and employees. They're sometimes seen as penalizing those who are sick by offering financial incentives to those who are healthier. Critics contend that in many cases, money spent on wellness programs could be better spent elsewhere.

“I'd much rather have these employers not invest in wellness programs but instead invest resources for targeted clinical services that we know have very high clinical and financial returns,” said IHPI member Mark Fendrick, director of the U-M Center for Value-Based Insurance Design.

Featured IHPI Members