Although consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) (also called high-deductible health plans) have affected health care utilization, they have had limited success in altering enrollees’ behavior as consumers. By design, CDHPs lower costs by shifting some of the financial burden of health care costs to enrollees. The goal is to give enrollees the incentive to be better health care consumers. The experience over the last 15 years has been to increase lower claims by either attracting lower-risk enrollees or by reducing the purchase of health care services. To be effective insurers, employers and other plan sponsors need to develop strategies to enhance enrollees’ engagement and effectiveness as consumers.
Author: William S. Custer, PhD,is the director of the Center for Health Services Research in the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. Previously, he was the director of research at the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining EBRI, Dr. Custer was an economist in the Center for Health Policy Research at the American Medical Association, and served as assistant professor of economics at Northern Illinois University.
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