Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Study Finds High-Deductible Health Plans Pose No Special Risks To The Medically Vulnerable

From a 19 April 2011 Medical News Today article

People who are medically vulnerable – those with low incomes or chronic health problems – who enroll in high-deductible health plans are at no more risk for cutting back on needed health care than other people who enroll in the plans, according to a new RAND Corporation study. [Abstract, for suggestions on how to get this article for free or at low cost, click here] …

…The project examined the first-year experiences of more than 360,000 families nationwide who enrolled in high-deductible health plans offered by their employers from 2003 to 2007. The study, conducted with consulting firm Towers Watson, was published online by the journal Forum for Health Economics & Policy.

“One important issue is whether high-deductible health plans will leave low-income and chronically ill patients with inadequate access to health care,” said Amelia Haviland, lead author of the study and a statistician at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “We did not find greater cut backs for medically vulnerable families. The evidence suggests that non-vulnerable families, low-income families and high-risk families are equally affected under high-deductible plans.”

High-deductible and consumer-directed health plans have been gaining favor as one way to help control health care costs. By 2009, about 20 percent of Americans with employer-sponsored health coverage were enrolled in such plans. A 2010 survey found that more than 54 percent of large employers offered at least one high-deductible health plan to their employees. …
…Medical spending declined among all families enrolled in high-deductible and consumer-directed health plans, relative to similar families in traditional plans, with the reductions among medically vulnerable families generally being similar to that seen among other families, according to researchers.

Researchers note that the medically vulnerable families studied all had a member working full time with benefits and the results here may not hold for families with less financial stability, and in addition that similar reductions may have different health or economic impacts for these vulnerable families. …

April 19, 2011 - Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] Study Finds High-Deductible Health Plans Pose No Special Risks To The Medically Vulnerable (jflahiff.wordpress.com) […]

    Pingback by High Deductible Health Plans are not the solution. It is not the patient who can manage health care. New study finds skimping on preventive care. « quinnscommentary | May 4, 2011 | Reply


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