Study Shows Lower Costs, Increased Consumer Engagement In Account-Based Health Plans
HealthPartners released results of a study that provide new evidence that members who have health savings accounts and health reimbursement accounts have lower medical costs and are more engaged in seeking out more cost effective care.
The analysis shows that even when adjusted for illness burden, health care costs were 4.4 percent lower for HealthPartners members in these consumer directed health plans compared to members in traditional plans. Researchers found the lower costs were driven by CDHP members receiving care from lower cost providers and that providers used fewer resources such as diagnostic imaging and other procedures.
"HealthPartners researchers also found that members with CDHPs were more likely to use Web-based tools that provide information on health care costs and quality. For example, members were twice as likely to access HealthPartners Medical Cost Calculator which has cost information for 93 high frequency procedures or conditions from ear infection to coronary artery bypass surgery.
"Our study confirms that account-based health plans can be effective at engaging consumers and lowering health care costs and it also provides evidence that members, including those with chronic illness, are getting care they need," said Andrea Walsh, HealthPartners executive vice president. HealthPartners researchers found medication adherence rates were not statistically different for members with coronary artery disease, diabetes and congestive heart failure. In addition, members in CDHPs and traditional plans had similar rates of receiving preventive care.