Consumer-Directed Health Plans Encourage Preventive Care
According to a study released by the WellPoint Institute of Health Care Knowledge (Institute) today, researchers found consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) yield cost savings for employers. This second study released by the Institute, entitled, "Employers and Consumers Recognize Value of Consumer-Directed Health Plans," found members of CDHPs took advantage of the preventive benefits offered through these plans.
The majority of Americans currently receive their health insurance through their employer. As employers face increasing cost pressures, CDHP products are important tools for managing care and costs. This study revealed that employers who offered employees a CDHP in 2007 saw a slight decrease in their overall cost trend, while costs for other plan types continued to increase.
This study released by the Institute found that consumers enrolled in CDHPs used more preventive care services than those enrolled in non-CDHPs. The study was based on 7,977 employer groups in Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio and Wisconsin.
"As this study shows, CDHPs are helping employers manage health care costs by promoting healthier behaviors and encouraging informed consumer decision- making," said Sam Nussbaum, Chief Medical Officer, WellPoint, Inc. "Additionally, when given a choice, many families are choosing these types of health benefits over more traditional benefits. These products are designed to provide the coverage and care consumers are looking for while helping maintain healthy lifestyles."
CDHPs encourage members to make more cost-effective decisions by increasing consumer engagement and emphasizing the importance of actively managing health care costs. While some critics have questioned whether CDHPs would result in decreased use of preventive care, the Institute's analysis found CDHP members actually utilized preventive services at a higher rate than their non-CDHP counterparts. This difference was more pronounced in males than females. Male CDHP members showed 8.8 percent higher preventive care utilization than their counterparts enrolled in other plan types, a finding that is even more significant considering the fact that on average, men are 25% less likely than women to have seen a doctor in the past year.
The Institute centralizes research from WellPoint Inc.'s family of companies on health-related topics including health education, consumer behavior, and health care costs. The innovative Institute applies evidence-based research to health care management, designed to help create more informed consumers and improve health care for all, including the 35 million members in WellPoint's affiliated health plans. It regularly issues evidence-based research studies, fact sheets and policy statements.