As we enter open enrollment season, brokers, advisors and benefits managers need to get up to speed on consumer-directed health plans because they are fast becoming mainstream. Brokers should be prepared to answer a threshold question: "How does the consumer-directed health plan compare with our existing plan?"

A recent survey by the National Business Group on Health (NBGH) found that nearly three-fourths of large employers will offer a consumer-directed health plan (CDHP) in 2012, up from 64 percent this year.[1]

Employers are embracing CDHPs to get employees more actively involved in their health care and help control medical costs. The most common type of CDHP is a high-deductible health plan paired with a health savings account (HSA), according to NBGH. These plans promote preventive care and offer tax advantages for both employees and employers.

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