This is the fifth straight year of relatively low premium growth (family coverage growing between 3 and 4 percentage points each year), but the stability for premiums belies some other changes that have occurred during the period. Deductibles continued to grow in 2016; over the last five years, the percentage of covered workers facing a general annual deductible has grown from 74% to 83%, while the average single deductible amount (among those facing a deductible) increased from $991 to $1,478. These higher deductibles likely contributed to the moderating premium increases over this period.
The higher deductibles have resulted, in part, by growing enrollment in HDHP/SOs, where enrollment has gone from 17% of covered workers in 2011 to 29% in 2016. Just in the last two years, enrollment in HDHP/SOs has grown by eight percentage points while PPO enrollment has declined by ten. More enrollment in HDHP/SOs has several implications for costs: they have higher deductibles than other plan types, but many enrollees also receive contributions to their HSA or HRAs that offset some or all of the cost sharing; they have lower total premiums and worker contribution amounts, although contributions by employers toward enrollee HRAs and HSAs offset some of the impact of the lower premiums for employers.