Health Affairs Study Examines Future of Consumer-Driven Health Insurance Plans
Although "consumer-driven" health insurance plans have become "central" to many insurers' business plans, it is still too early to determine if such plans will "appeal broadly to employees" and experience an enrollment increase, according to a study published yesterday on the Health Affairs Web site. The study's findings are based on interviews with 37 insurance experts, including brokers, health plan executives, policymakers and employee group leaders. Approximately 1.5 million people are enrolled in consumer-driven plans, defined in the study as plans in which enrollees can "designate their benefits and providers" and "pay any cost beyond a fixed contribution by their employers." Plans that create health spending accounts financed by employers' pretax dollars were also defined as consumer-driven plans in the study. According to the authors, more research is needed on consumer-driven plans to determine if they "split up risk pools and shift costs to sicker enrollees (Health Affairs release, 11/20). The study, "Consumer-Driven Health Plans: Are They More Than Talk Now?," is available online.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.