Thursday, November 13, 2008

Consumer Driven Health Care: Interesting Update

[Welcome Kaiser Network readers!]
We've been vocal proponents of Consumer Driven Health Plans (CDHP) for a long time, and have seen some of the positive results of putting consumers into the health care driver's seat. Since these plans are relatively new, long term trends have been difficult to ascertain, but that's beginning to change.
Recently, health insurance leviathan WellPoint (WP) published a report that showed some interesting (and hopeful) results. The folks at WP surveyed almost 8,000 of their groups that offered some kind of CDHP in 2007, and made some startling finds:
■ Those employers that adopted a CDHP in 2006 saw their health care spending decline, while those in non-CDHP plans saw spending increase from 7% to 10%
■ Most employers that offered a CDHP also offered other, more "traditional" choices, and families with children were still more likely to opt for the CDHP
■ One of the most oft-cited objections to CDHP plans is that they discourage folks from seeking preventive care (although the logic of this canard has always escaped me). Contrary to "conventional wisdom," however, the study found that "consumers enrolled in CDHPs had higher utilization of preventive care than consumers enrolled in non-CDHPs."
One of the things I most appreciated about the report was that it generally avoids industry jargon; that is, it's understandable to non-insurance-geeks. And it's not an overwhelming amount of information, so it's easy to go through fairly quickly.
Kudos, WellPoint!
[Hat Tip: NAABC]
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