Many consumer-directed health plans do little to help members find reasonably priced doctors and hospitals.[@@]
A team of researchers led by Meredith Rosenthal, a health policy researcher at Harvard University, has published a paper documenting that weakness in the latest issue of Health Affairs, a health finance academic journal.
The researchers conducted the study by reviewing a specific employer’s implementation of each of 14 consumer-directed plan programs. Half of the programs incorporated health reimbursement arrangements, health savings accounts or similar personal health accounts. The others used various types of provider tiers to guide member behavior.
Only 2 of the 14 plans studied gave members information about how much doctors and hospitals charge per service, and both were spending account-based plans, Rosenthal and her colleagues write.