Seems like Washington's got more trial balloons than triallawyers these days.

Not sure what it is about health care reform that no one wants tocome out of committee and actually own up to any of their ideas.Wait a minute, maybe I do. If I see one more piece of angry townhall footage ...

One of the latest lead balloons to float wearily out of the Capitolbefore crashing into the Potomac concerns consumer-driven healthplans. Seems there are some proposals that would actually do awaywith - or at least cripple - both FSAs and HRAs.

Sure, not the brightest of ideas on the best of days (or worst).But in light of a new United Benefit Advisors study,consumer-driven health plans have become more popular thanHMOs.

Consumer-driven plans exploded at a 33.9 percent clip this pastyear and now cover more employees (15.4 percent) than HMO plans(13.6 percent), according to the study. The Northeast region of thecountry had the largest concentration of CDHPs with a 23 percentparticipation rate. Better yet, the average cost increase for allCDHPs hovered around 6.3 percent, slightly lower than that of theaverage of all plan types, which climbed an average of more than 7this year.

Yeah, that makes about as much sense as Heidi Montag'scareer.

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