The strategy of pushing the first $1,200 or more of high-deductible health plan costs onto members in the form of increased deductibles has the potential to backfire. The plan design seems to have a built-in disincentive for seeking preventive care or managing chronic health conditions when health costs are lowest. Facing financial pressure in today's economy, plan members must decide if they will pay for a doctor's visit before the deductible is met, hope the health problem resolves on its own, or delay care. This is a "pay more later" gamble for the employer and employee.
A January 2012 study by Harvard researchers in the Journal of General Internal Medicine showed that families with high-deductible health plans tend to delay health care more than those with traditional coverage because of cost. Financially, high-deductible plans can strap families, according to the study. Those most at risk of having to make a choice between other necessities or needed health care are low-income families and those facing chronic health conditions.
Register or login for access to this item and much more
All Employee Benefit Adviser content is archived after seven days.
Community members receive:
- All recent and archived articles
- Conference offers and updates
- A full menu of enewsletter options
- Web seminars, white papers, ebooks
Already have an account? Log In
Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access