Holders of personal health accounts may be more likely than members of other health plans to miss work because of decisions to go without medical care.
Researchers at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Menlo Park, Calif., have published figures supporting that idea in a summary of results from a recent survey of 22,560 U.S. residents ages 18 to 64.
The researchers found that 272 of the participants, or 1.2% of all participants, had individual or group high-deductible health coverage combined with a health savings account or a health reimbursement arrangement.
The researchers also interviewed a control group of 715 U.S. adults enrolled in conventional employer-sponsored group heath plans.
The researchers found that health account holders had higher incomes and more education than members of the control group.
About 57% of the health account holders had college degrees, and 45% had annual household incomes over $75,000.
In the control group, only 35% of the participants had college degrees and only 30% had incomes over $75,000.
U.S. Government Accountability Office researchers have pointed out that comparing performance health account plans with conventional group plans is difficult, because most health account plans are new, and new health plans of all kinds tend to have lower satisfaction rates than well-established plans.
Some of the health account holders in the Kaiser survey have individual health coverage, and researchers at the Commonwealth Fund, New York, recently noted that holders of individual coverage tend to have lower satisfaction rates than members of group health plans.