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WASHINGTON-A recent Watson Wyatt Worldwide report that finds that the majority of healthcare costs stem from the treatment of a small group of employees and dependents who have chronic or catastrophic illnesses. The report finds that companies that focus solely on providing financial incentives to encourage plan participants to be more discerning healthcare consumers are apt to realize only limited cost savings. HDHP plans attached to HSAs are likely to be attractive only to healthier employees. According to the report, it is up to employers to understand the varying needs of employees and to respond with targeted consumerism – an approach that uses different strategies to engage different segments of the population covered by health benefit plans. For example, rather than using financial incentives to encourage seriously ill participants to reduce plan spending, directing them to high-quality delivery centers will be far more effective in making them better consumers and controlling plan costs. Here is a look at how the costs break down: * 4% of plan participants with serious health conditions account for 49% of health benefit spending in any given year-over $10,000 per individual on average * 25% of employees in the early stages of chronic conditions or with acute health episodes account for 40% of spending-between $1,500 to $9,999 per individual on average * 72% of employees who are the healthiest account for 11% of spending-less than $1,500 per individual on average

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