Employers Identify Best Practices for High-Deductible Health Plans in New Research From the National Pharmaceutical Council and Gallagher Research & Insights

Webinar highlights new research and steps employers can take to implement better HDHP designs.  


For immediate release 
Andrea Hofelich, 202-827-2078, ahofelich@npcnow.org 

Washington, DC – February 14, 2022 – Good health insurance is one of the most valued benefits that an employer can offer to attract and retain employees. To maximize the value of high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), employers can implement the good practices identified in new research from the National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC) and Gallagher Research & Insights (GRI).  

Almost half of U.S workers, about 158 million people, have employer-sponsored health insurance, and nearly a third of covered U.S. workers are enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). HDHPs feature lower-than-usual monthly premiums but higher deductibles, and they are often combined with health savings accounts (HSAs). HDHPs can be problematic for people with lower incomes or chronic conditions requiring regular care or medications. Patients can end up paying thousands of dollars in health costs at the start of the year to meet their deductible, leading some to avoid needed care, which results in worse health and productivity. 

In the NPC-GRI research, surveyed employers recommended five HDHP good practices as the most impactful for optimizing value: 

  • Offering HSA contributions
  • Front-loading HSA contributions
  • Providing additional HSA contributions based on employee actions
  • Offering ongoing education that emphasizes retirement and tax-free advantages of HSAs
  • Covering preventive care medications pre-deductible as fully as HSA federal regulations allow 

Although HDHPs have seen some success in lowering employer health care spending, employers need to be aware of the financial burden of high out-of-pocket costs for some employees and the potential unintended impacts on patient health. “While many employers are taking a more proactive approach to managing employee health benefits, there are opportunities to implement additional HDHP good practices to create health benefits that deliver even greater value to the employer and the employee,” said NPC Vice President of Health Services Research Kimberly Westrich, a report author. 

Westrich will moderate a discussion about the report and other good practices for employers during the webinar “Better Value, Smarter Deductibles in HSA-HDHPs,” hosted by the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions on Tuesday, February 15, from 12 p.m.-1:15 p.m. ET. The webinar is open to the public and registration is available here

Learn more in NPC’s High-Deductible Health Plans: Good Practices for Employers.   

About the National Pharmaceutical Council 

The National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC) is a health policy research organization dedicated to the advancement of good evidence and science, and to fostering an environment in the United States that supports medical innovation. Founded in 1953 and supported by the nation’s major research-based biopharmaceutical companies, NPC focuses on research development, information dissemination, education and communication of the critical issues of evidence, innovation and the value of medicines for patients. For more information visit www.npcnow.org and follow NPC on Twitter @npcnow. 

About Gallagher Research & Insights 

Gallagher Research & Insights (GRI) provides the intelligence, competitive benchmarking and guidance essential for success in the dynamic healthcare market through research, analysis, reporting, training, presentations and client support. Areas of focus include the marketplace influence of jumbo employers (5,000+ employees), non-jumbo employers (50-4,999 employees), leading employer health coalitions, employer advisors and integrated delivery networks.