Patients who switched to a consumer-directed health plan (CDHP) were associated with decreased outpatient spending overall, but no change in spending on designated low-value services, according to a new study. The researchers compared patient spending on 26 medical services considered low-value before and after they switched from a traditional insurance plan to a consumer-directed health plan. They found that while switching to a CDHP was associated with a $231 decrease in outpatient spending overall, there was no significant difference in the use of low-value services. This pattern continued when the authors restricted the analysis to imaging services and laboratory services. In a previous study the researchers found that 7.8 percent of the patients studied received low-value services in 2013, amounting to $32.8 million in spending. These findings add to the recent literature suggesting that high-deductible health plans do not focus cost reductions on low-value care.
The full study is available at AJMC.
Citation: Reid, R. O., Rabideau, B., & Sood, N. (2017). Impact of consumer-directed health plans on low-value healthcare. The American journal of managed care, 23(12), 741-748.