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Life Health > Health Insurance > Life Insurance Strategies

Doctors Worry About Effects Of Health Accounts

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Physicians say the “consumer driven health care” movement may improve service but cut use of medically necessary procedures.

Researchers at Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., New York, a consulting firm, have published figures supporting that conclusion in a summary of results from a Web-based survey of 2,969 privately insured U.S. consumers ages 18 to 65 and 600 doctors.

Only 18% of doctors said they believe health savings accounts and other health accounts are a passing fad, and 55% said they expect the accounts to endure.

Fewer than 20% of the doctors predicted that the accounts will produce better health outcomes, and 58% predicted the accounts will cause patients to limit use of necessary health care services and procedures.

About 69% of the doctors expects to see more patients having trouble paying medical bills.

But 70% of the doctors said they believe patients will pay more attention to provider service, and 84% said they believe the health accounts will lead patients to pay more attention to health care costs.

The survey also found that, in one area, doctors may trust health plans more than plan members do: Consumers told researchers they consider health plans to be one of the least trustworthy sources of health care price information and other health information, but 60% of the doctors surveyed said they believe that health plans are the best source physician services cost data.


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