Account-based health plans drive biggest cost savings

The companies that do the best job of managing health care costs and improving plan efficiency rely on account-based health plans, according to new research by Willis Towers Watson. A full 77% of the most efficient firms surveyed offer ABHPs. Account-based health plans are consumer-directed strategies that pair a group health insurance plan with a tax-advantaged medical spending account, such as a health savings account or health reimbursement arrangement.

Top-performing employers achieved a $2,251 per employee per year health care cost advantage over the national average in 2017—$9,950 compared with $12,201.

Forty-five percent use ABHPs as the default health insurance option, and at 30% of firms, employees must participate in an ABHP in order to receive employer-sponsored health insurance.