Consumer Driven Health Plans (e.g. HSA's, etc) continue to help solve one of the underlying, persistent problems facing health care delivery: cost.
As we continue to demonstrate here at IB, health care costs drive health insurance costs. That is, increases in the cost of care directly affect the cost of financing (insuring) that care.
One proven method for reining in that trend is through health plans that empower and involve the consumer. Recently, UnitedHealthcare underwrote another major study of Consumer Driven Plans, and how they have affected costs. They studied their own claims experience for the past 5 years, and found that these plans "consistently delivered lower cost than PPO plans in four of the five years, even after adjusting for differences in health status, demographics and other influencing factors. Importantly, the bulk of the savings are attributable to changes in health utilization, not cost shifting to the employee."
That last part is key: one of the major arguments against consumer-centric plans has been a (false) perception that they come at the expense of the insured. Turns out, not surprisingly, that that's not the case.
The study comprised over 400,000 insureds, which seems like a pretty decent sample size. Folks (and fellow wonks) who'd like more details can access the results by clicking here.