According to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics, 30.3 percent of group health care plan participants were enrolled in a high-deductible plan during the first quarter of 2013, up from 17.1 percent in 2008.
A deductible is a fixed annual amount set by the health policy that a covered person must pay in health care costs before the plan will begin providing coverage. The federal government defines a high-deductible health plan as one with deductibles of $1,250 for self-only coverage and $2,500 for family coverage in 2013. Five years earlier, high-deductible plans were defined as those with $1,100 deductibles for self-only coverage and $2,200 for family coverage.
Health plan enrollees opting to contribute to a flexible spending account also increased. During the first quarter of this year, 22.8 percent of health care plan participants were covered by an FSA, up from 18.7 percent in 2008. Under President Obama's Affordable Care Act, the maximum annual contribution employees can make this year to an FSA is $2,500. In 2008, there was no such limit, though employers often placed a $4,000 to $5,000 annual cap on contributions.
A separate study by the Kaiser Family Foundation released in August found that the average deductible for small firms - those with 200 or fewer employees - in 2013 was $1,715, and $884 for employees of large companies. According to that study, 58 percent of company health plans had deductibles of $1,000 or more, while 28 percent of large firms' plans had deductibles above $1,000.