More US employers are offering a consumer-driven health plan (CDHP) to their employees in an effort to continue providing quality healthcare coverage, while controlling costs and introducing consumerism, according to Aon Consulting.

A nationwide survey of 434 employers found that 28% currently offer a CDHP to their employees, which is up from 22% in 2005. In fact, this study shows that of those employers with a CDHP, 75% began offering the plan in 2005 or 2006, illustrating the relative newness of the concept and its growing appeal.

Of the employers not offering a CDHP, 30% believe the concept is too new to offer now and will wait to learn from the experience of other firms before deciding to offer one.

We expect more and more employers to offer a CDHP in the future, said Bill Sharon, senior vice president with Aon Consulting and co-author of the study. Early CDHP results have been very positive. Employees like CDH plans, as we consistently see 90% satisfaction rates. Employers also like them because they are seeing a reduction in healthcare cost increases.

The CDHP system has been criticized in some quarters however, as it is intended to persuade employees to contribute a greater share of the cost of healthcare while remaining within the confines of an employer-driven medical plan. Healthcare costs for employees in the US are an increasing burden on blue chip companies already battling to maintain competitiveness in an increasingly global economy, as icons of American industry such as GM and Ford have discovered in recent times.