Based on data amassed throughout 2004 and 2005, United Health Care recently announced that Consumer Driven Plans don't seem to prevent folks from seeking medical care. According to UHC, those who enroll in these types of plans don't forego needed medical care any more than their opposite numbers who went the "traditional" route.
This puts the lie to the oft-repeated (but rarely supported) contention of CDHP critics that these plans encourage chronically ill members to skimp on needed care, let alone healthy folks to skip out on preventive care opportunities.
I also found the raw numbers interesting, as well: UHC looked at data for a quarter of a million CDHP participants, and compared it to industry-wide numbers (based on a staggaring 10 million folks with PPO co-pay type plans). Compared to the co-pay folks:
■ CDHP members were 16% more likely to have a cervical cancer screening
■ 10% more likely to receive a cholesterol screening
■ 16% more likely to receive a prostate screening
■ 8% more likely to have well- child visits
Oh, they were just as likely to go for colon cancer screenings and mammograms.
Of course, this makes sense: if one has been empowered (through premium and tax savings) to make these choices, it stands to reason that folks who "get" the CDHP concept will take advantage of such benefits. I've also noticed that a number of High Deductible Plans (HDHP's) now include 100% coverage for many preventive services (vaccines, well-child care, mammograms, etc). As this segment of the industry matures, look for more plans to adopt this strategy.
And that would be a good thing.