24.8 Million Americans Are Enrolled in High–Deductible Insurance Plans

Deductibles have increased by 10 percent from 2015 to 2016

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September 9, 2017

There are 24.8 million Americans who are enrolled in a high-deductible health care plan through their employer, according to data from researchers at the University of Minnesota.

According to the IRS, a high-deductible health plan is one that has a minimum deductible of $1,300 for an individual and $2,600 for a family.

In 2015, the average deductible for an individual was $1,541, which increased to $1,696 in 2016—an increase of 10.1 percent.

In addition, smaller firms were found with higher deductibles. In 2016, large firms had an average deducible to $1,615, compared with small firms with average deductibles of $2,105.

Deductibles have been growing at a much faster rate than premiums as well. While premiums increased by 2 percent from 2015 to 2016, deductibles increased by 10 percent. In five years, from 2012 to 2016, premiums increased 13 percent while deductibles increased by 45 percent.

The number of people enrolled in these high-deductible plans increased by 3.2 percent last year, which represented an increase of 2.2 million people. Currently, there are 42.6 percent of employees who are enrolled in a high-deductible health plan.

Some states have seen deductibles rise at a faster rate than others. For example, average deductibles in Hawaii were only $988 compared with New Hampshire where average deductibles were $2,434. While 14 states saw significant hikes in average deductibles, only two states saw a decline.

"High-deductible health plans are increasingly becoming the norm in commercial insurance, and there is every reason to expect this trend to continue," said Katherine Hempstead, senior advisor at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "Deductibles rose considerably faster than premiums, and the share of health care spending made directly by consumers will continue to grow."