Business Times Examines Move to ‘Consumer-Driven’ Health Plans in Bay Area
The East Bay Business Times last week examined "consumer-driven" health plans, which several large Bay Area companies plan to offer late this year or early next year to help control health care costs. The plans make employees "more responsible for how much money they spend on health care," the Business Times reports. Under the plans, employers establish a "personal health care account" that employees can use to cover the cost of elective and specialist health services, and unused funds roll over from year to year. In addition, the plans provide catastrophic coverage for employees after they pay a deductible. According to the Business Times, "there is not enough specific data" to determine whether the plans can reduce health care costs "significantly" or whether "they are a good plan for sicker employees with high health care needs." Susan Cunningham, benefits program manager at Stanford University, said that the "potential is there" to control health care costs. "The projection has to do with whether it changes people's behavior or not, and you don't know until you see it," she said. A Blue Cross of California spokesperson said that the insurer will offer a "consumer-oriented" health plan at the end of the year (Walker, East Bay Business Times, 8/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.