High Deductible Health Plans Continue to Grow in Popularity

WRITTEN BY: Craig Sturgill


In today’s ever-evolving healthcare landscape, high deductible health plans (HDHPs) have been gaining increasing popularity among individuals and families. These plans offer unique advantages and drawbacks, making them a compelling choice for many.

Understanding the intricacies of HDHPs is crucial for making informed healthcare decisions. In this article, we will explore the advantages, drawbacks, and growing popularity of HDHPs, providing you with the necessary insights to navigate this evolving healthcare trend.

Why are HDHPs growing in popularity?

In recent years, high-deductible health plans have witnessed a significant rise in popularity among individuals and families. This surge can be attributed to factors such as rising healthcare costs, the desire for greater control over healthcare decisions, and the potential cost savings offered by HDHPs.

As individuals seek more affordable and flexible healthcare options, the increasing popularity of high-deductible health plans reflects a shift in the healthcare landscape.

Statistics on the increase in HDHP enrollment

Over the past decade, HDHPs have experienced a significant surge in enrollment. According to recent statistics, the number of American workers choosing HDHPs has steadily risen to 55.7%, reflecting the growing popularity of these plans as a viable healthcare option.

This number increased by about 5% since 2020, 15% since 2017, and 84% since 2013. The chart below tracks the increases between 2012 to 2021.

Percentage of change year over year since 2012

Year% ChangeWorkers with HDHPs
Data Source: ValuePenguin

Several factors contribute to the increasing popularity of high-deductible health plans. Rising healthcare costs and the need for more control over healthcare decisions have prompted individuals to explore alternative insurance options. HDHPs, with their lower premiums and potential tax advantages, offer individuals a way to manage their healthcare expenses while maintaining some degree of autonomy.

Comparison to traditional health insurance plans

When comparing HDHPs to traditional health insurance options, it’s important to consider individual needs and preferences. While HDHPs provide cost-saving benefits and greater flexibility, they may not suit everyone.

Traditional health insurance plans, on the other hand, typically involve higher premiums but lower out-of-pocket costs. Evaluating the pros and cons of each option is crucial in determining the most appropriate choice for your healthcare needs.

Average annual costs of HDHPs

Although high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) often feature lower premiums than other types of health insurance, they still require individuals to cover upfront costs. The table below presents data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, illustrating the average cost of an employer-sponsored HDHP for the 2022 plan year:

CostsSingle CoverageFamily Coverage
Worker contribution$1,405$6,241
Annual deductible$2,925$6,013
Out-of-pocket max$5,328N/A
Employer contribution$1,815$3,322
Data Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

This data provides insights into the cost structure of HDHPs, emphasizing the importance of considering both premiums and upfront expenses when evaluating healthcare options.

The advantages of high-deductible health plans

High-deductible health plans offer several advantages, making them an appealing option for individuals and families. These include lower premiums, providing an opportunity to save on monthly healthcare costs, greater flexibility and choice in selecting healthcare providers and treatments, and the potential for tax savings through health savings accounts (HSAs). By considering these advantages, individuals can make informed decisions about their healthcare coverage.

Lower premiums

One significant advantage of high-deductible health plans is their ability to offer lower monthly premiums compared to traditional health insurance options. By assuming a higher deductible, individuals can enjoy reduced monthly costs, making HDHPs an attractive choice for those seeking to save on their healthcare expenses.

Greater flexibility and choice

HDHPs provide individuals with greater flexibility in managing their healthcare. With many HDHP, you can choose healthcare providers, specialists, and treatments that align with your unique needs. This flexibility empowers individuals to make healthcare decisions that suit their preferences and priorities.

Potential tax savings

Another notable advantage of high-deductible health plans is the potential for tax savings. HDHPs are often paired with health savings accounts (HSAs), which offer tax advantages. Contributions to an HSA are tax-deductible, and the funds can grow tax-free. These tax incentives can help individuals offset their healthcare costs while providing a means to save for future medical expenses.

The drawbacks of high-deductible health plans

While high-deductible health plans have advantages, it is also essential to consider the drawbacks. One major drawback is the higher out-of-pocket costs individuals face before the insurance coverage kicks in, potentially creating a financial burden.

Additionally, high-deductible health plans may present barriers to accessing care for individuals with limited financial resources, and unexpected medical expenses can strain finances. Weighing these drawbacks against the benefits is crucial in determining the suitability of an HDHP.

Higher out-of-pocket costs

One drawback of high-deductible health plans is the higher out-of-pocket costs individuals must bear before the insurance coverage kicks in. Meeting the deductible can pose a financial challenge, particularly for those who require frequent medical services. However, weighing these costs against the potential savings in premiums and tax benefits, HDHPs offers is important.

Potential barriers to accessing care

High-deductible health plans can sometimes present barriers to accessing care, especially for individuals with limited financial resources. The higher upfront costs may deter individuals from seeking necessary medical attention, potentially compromising their health. It is crucial to carefully consider your healthcare needs and financial situation when evaluating the suitability of an HDHP.

Potential financial strain

In certain situations, HDHPs can place individuals under significant financial strain. Unforeseen medical expenses can accumulate quickly, requiring individuals to cover a substantial portion of the costs out of pocket. Assessing your financial preparedness and risk tolerance before opting for an HDHP is essential.


How do high-deductible health plans work?

High-deductible health plans typically involve higher deductibles and lower premiums than traditional insurance plans. Individuals must pay for healthcare services and expenses out of pocket until the deductible is met. Once the deductible is reached, the insurance coverage begins, providing partial or full coverage for subsequent medical expenses.

What’s considered a high-deductible health plan?

A high-deductible health plan is characterized by its higher deductible than traditional health insurance plans. In 2023, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) defines an HDHP as a plan with a minimum annual deductible of $1,400 for an individual and $2,800 for a family. The maximum out-of-pocket expenses for an HDHP in 2023 are $7,050 for an individual and $14,100 for a family.

Why would someone choose a high-deductible health plan?

Individuals may choose HDHPs for various reasons. Some opt for HDHPs to lower their monthly premium costs, especially if they anticipate minimal healthcare utilization. Others value the flexibility and control that HDHPs offer in selecting healthcare providers and treatments. Additionally, the potential tax savings associated with health savings accounts (HSAs) make HDHPs an attractive choice for those seeking financial benefits.

Do copays count toward the deductible?

In most cases, copayments (or copays) do not count toward meeting the deductible in high-deductible health plans. Copays are fixed amounts individuals pay for specific services or medications at the time of the visit or purchase. However, once the deductible is met, copays may still apply for certain services, depending on the specifics of the insurance plan.

Are high-deductible health plans better?

Determining whether HDHPs are better depends on individual circumstances and preferences. HDHPs can benefit those seeking lower premiums, greater flexibility, and potential tax savings. However, they may not be suitable for individuals with frequent medical needs or limited financial resources. It’s important to assess your healthcare needs, financial situation, and risk tolerance when evaluating the suitability of an HDHP.

Compare high-deductible health plans in your area:

High-deductible health plans continue to gain popularity as individuals seek ways to manage their healthcare costs and have more control over their medical decisions. With lower premiums, greater flexibility, and potential tax advantages, HDHPs offer unique benefits worth considering. 

However, weighing these advantages against the higher out-of-pocket costs and potential barriers to accessing care is essential. Before deciding, thoroughly evaluate your healthcare needs, financial situation, and the specifics of available plans. 

Take charge of your healthcare journey and explore the high-deductible health plans in your area to find the best fit for your needs. Fill out our online rate form today and embark on a path toward informed healthcare choices.


  • “Rate of Workers Enrolled in High-Deductible Health Plans Jumps for 8th Year in Row to Record 55.7%” (ValuePenguin)
  • “High Deductible Health Plan Enrollment Hit Record High in 2021” (HealthPayer Intelligence)
  • “Analysis of High Deductible Health Plans” (RAND)

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