"It is seen as a way to help control the cost," said Barry McNamara, spokesman for Benetech.
"Employers have run out of options for traditional cost-sharing and cost shifting.High-deductible plans offer a much more direct premium reduction." McNamara
said some employers can cut premiums enough to cover part of the employees' deductibles or provide a benefit--such as a dental plan--they had not previously offered and still come out ahead.
Although nearly half of the survey respondents told Benetech
they expected to offer their employees a consumer-driven health plan option in the future, only 5 percent actually did as of late 2004. The gap
seems to exist primarily because local health insurers either just began offering consumer-driven plans or are still in the process of forming them.
"Development of the product locally is behind the interest," McNamara