The Impact of Multiple Consumer Driven Health Plans Beyond Early Adoption: Here to Stay or Market Fad?

How will consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) impact quality of care, cost, and utilization of health care in the long-term? Will the impacts vary by CDHP design? Researchers from the University of Minnesota explored the long-term impact of consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs), specifically their impact on quality of care, cost, utilization, and variation in these outcomes by different CDHP designs, including Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Building on another past HCFO grant, the researchers examined claims and employer data from the six employers included in their previous study (offering Definity Health) and six new employers using CDHPs from Destiny Health, Blue Cross Blue Shield and UnitedHealth Group. They examined four research questions: (1) what is the long-term effect of CDHPs on health care cost and use; (2) are other CDHPs, including newly legislated HSAs, producing different results than Definity Health's CDHP; (3) what is the quality of care for CDHP enrollees with chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease; and (4) how do consumers manage their CDHP spending accounts in the long run, and can this knowledge be used to design an "ideal" CDHP? The objective of this study was to provide objective empirical analyses of the impacts of CDHPs and newly developing HSA products on consumers.