A Report Card on the Freshman Class of Consumer-Directed Health Plans

Health Affairs - November/December 2005
Vol. 24, No. 6
November/December 2005
Rosenthal, M., Hsaun, C., and A. Milstein
pp. 1592-600

We used a series of case studies of first-generation consumer-directed health plans to investigate their early experience and the suitability of their design for reducing the growth in health benefit spending and improving the value of that spending.We found three fundamental but correctible weaknesses: Most plans do not make available comparative measures of quality and longitudinal cost-efficiency in enough detail to help consumers discern higher-value health care options; financial incentives for consumers are weak and insensitive to differences in value among the selections that consumers make; and none of the plans made cost-sharing adjustments to preserve freedom of choice for low-income consumers.

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