Research Shows Consumer-Directed Health Plans Encourage Preventive Care

by Lesley Politi on October 29, 2008

Research Shows Consumer-Directed Health Plans Encourage Preventive Care

WellPoint Institute of Health Care Knowledge Releases Study on the Value of
                       Consumer-Directed Health Plans

    INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a study released by
the WellPoint Institute of Health Care Knowledge (Institute) today,
researchers found consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) yield cost savings
for employers. This second study released by the Institute, entitled,
"Employers and Consumers Recognize Value of Consumer-Directed Health
Plans," found members of CDHPs took advantage of the preventive benefits
offered through these plans.

    The majority of Americans currently receive their health insurance
through their employer. As employers face increasing cost pressures, CDHP
products are important tools for managing care and costs. This study
revealed that employers who offered employees a CDHP in 2007 saw a slight
decrease in their overall cost trend, while costs for other plan types
continued to increase.

    This study released by the Institute found that consumers enrolled in
CDHPs used more preventive care services than those enrolled in non-CDHPs.
The study was based on 7,977 employer groups in Connecticut, Indiana,
Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio and Wisconsin.

    "As this study shows, CDHPs are helping employers manage health care
costs by promoting healthier behaviors and encouraging informed consumer
decision- making," said Sam Nussbaum, Chief Medical Officer, WellPoint,
Inc. "Additionally, when given a choice, many families are choosing these
types of health benefits over more traditional benefits. These products are
designed to provide the coverage and care consumers are looking for while
helping maintain healthy lifestyles."

    CDHPs encourage members to make more cost-effective decisions by
increasing consumer engagement and emphasizing the importance of actively
managing health care costs. While some critics have questioned whether
CDHPs would result in decreased use of preventive care, the Institute's
analysis found CDHP members actually utilized preventive services at a
higher rate than their non-CDHP counterparts. This difference was more
pronounced in males than females. Male CDHP members showed 8.8 percent
higher preventive care utilization than their counterparts enrolled in
other plan types, a finding that is even more significant considering the
fact that on average, men are 25% less likely than women to have seen a
doctor in the past year.(1)

    The Institute centralizes research from WellPoint Inc.'s family of
companies on health-related topics including health education, consumer
behavior, and health care costs. The innovative Institute applies
evidence-based research to health care management, designed to help create
more informed consumers and improve health care for all, including the 35
million members in WellPoint's affiliated health plans. It regularly issues
evidence-based research studies, fact sheets and policy statements.

    For more information, please visit WellPoint Institute of Health Care
Knowledge at http://www.wellpoint.com/institute .

    About WellPoint, Inc.

    WellPoint, Inc. is the largest health benefits company in terms of
medical membership in the United States. WellPoint is an independent
licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and serves its
members as the Blue Cross licensee for California; the Blue Cross and Blue
Shield licensee for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky,
Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada,
New Hampshire, New York (as Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield in 10 New York
City metropolitan and surrounding counties and as Empire Blue Cross or
Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield in selected upstate counties only), Ohio,
Virginia (excluding the city of Fairfax, the town of Vienna and the area
east of State Route 123.), Wisconsin; and through UniCare. Additional
information about WellPoint is available at http://www.wellpoint.com
Source: PR newswire.com
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