HDHPs are attractive because they provide short-term cost savings on premiums to both the employer and employee. However, unless they are well designed, HDHPs increase the risk of out-of-pocket healthcare expenses for employees. This can lead to medical debt, delayed medical care, missed work, and loss of productivity in the workplace. Lower-income employees, who may not have access to financial resources, such as savings and affordable credit, are particularly at risk.
Atrium Health (formerly Carolinas HealthCare System) is an example of an employer that has successfully designed employee health benefits both to address the concerns of their lower-wage employees while effectively managing the expense.