- The second annual State of Employee Benefits report by Benefitfocus released salary information about workers’ healthcare choices, reports Employee Benefit Advisor.
- The report shows that millennials invest 20% more of their salaries in health savings accounts (HSAs) compared to other generations. Also, employees over 35 who select high deductible health plans (HDHPs) earn as much as 17% more than those who choose preferred provider organization (PPO) plans.
- Enrollees in HDHPs tend to be higher-wage earners than other enrollees, the report shows. But it also found that the average wage of enrollees in both PPOs and HDHPs dropped from 2016 to 2017. For PPO enrollees, wages dropped from $68,398 to $63,508 and for HDHPs enrollees, the drop was from $72,882 to $65,500.
It’s not surprising that higher-wage earners would be more likely to enroll in HDHPs. Less wealthy healthcare consumers often can’t afford the plans’ high deductibles, even though monthly premiums would be lower.
What’s less clear is why average salaries of enrollees in PPOs and HDHPs slipped between 2016 and 2017. The wage dip between the years for PPO enrollees isn’t significant, but the $7,382 drop in salaries for HDHP enrollees is. One explanation might be that more lower-wage earners are willing to pay higher deductibles in exchange for lower premiums.
Employers need to be cautious with offering HDHPs; they require more education and can cause a significant amount of stress for enrollees. Providing appropriate educational outlets and accessible communication tools goes a long way toward mitigating these problems.