High-deductible health plan enrollees avoid preventive care unnecessarily

From the Health Affairs blog:

Consumer-directed plans typically exempt recommended preventive visits and tests from the plan’s deductible, or require only a small copay. These plans have grown in popularity, increasing to 19 percent of all covered workers in 2012 from 8 percent just three years prior.

In the newly released December 2012 issue of Health AffairsMary Reed of Kaiser Permanente and coauthors report that more than half of 456 California-based respondents did not understand their plan benefits for preventive office visits, and approximately one in five delayed or avoided a preventive visit, test, or screening because of cost. The authors recommend concerted consumer education and support efforts to ensure patients are aware of their benefits and do not mistakenly avoid important preventive care due to concerns over cost, especially as more private and public health plans adopt the consumer-directed plan model.


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