The Potential for Barter in High Deductible Health Plans

Many business buy high deductible health plans (HDHPs) to reduce the cost of health insurance for themselves and their employees. This trend is picking up momentum as health plan premiums are rising at double digit rates while at the same time the allowable deductible under ACA for HDHPS is increasing. In 2023, the out-of-pocket limit for a marketplace plan stands at $9,100 for an individual and $18,200 for a family leaving business owners and employees exposed to increased out-of-pocket cost year over year.

As deductibles climb and out-of-pocket costs increase, so does the dissatisfaction with health insurance itself. Health plans that were supposed to incentivize employees have become a source of frustration for business owners and their employees. Many employees consider themselves functionally uninsured as they are unlikely to reach their deductible unless they experience a catastrophic health event. This leaves employees, and business owners with a substantial financial burden.

To cover the gap in coverage, some employers have turned to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). These tax-advantaged accounts created for or by individuals covered under HDHPs enable employees to save for qualified medical expenses. Contributions are made into the HSA by the individual or their employer and are limited to a maximum amount each year. The contributions can be used to pay for qualified medical expenses, such as medical, dental, vision care and prescription drugs. While HSAs have gained in popularity, they still require funding, and these funds must come from the employer or employee. Paying for a high deductible health plan while saving for the expenses the plan does not cover is an unaffordable option for many.

Business members on the MediBarter platform can trade and accumulate trade dollars by offering their goods and services to other members. These trade dollars can then be allocated to employees. This strategy can deflect the out-of-pocket costs of a high deductible plan while allowing more funds to accumulate in the HSA to be used for future healthcare expenses.

To learn more about healthcare barter and other barter options available for healthcare providers and businesses visit