A well-designed health reimbursement arrangement or health savings account plan may cut the increase in a plan’s underlying medical costs by 12% in the first year and 5% in the second year.

Analysts at CIGNA HealthCare, Bloomfield, Conn., a unit of CIGNA Corp., Philadelphia, have published that conclusion in a summary of a comparison of CIGNA health account plans with conventional health maintenance organization or preferred provider plans that were otherwise similar.

Members of the CIGNA health account plans, which pay 100% of the cost of recommended screenings and preventive care, were somewhat higher for first-year health account plan members and significantly higher for second-year plan members, CIGNA says.

Members of the health account plans seemed to comply with other care recommendations at about the same rate as traditional plan members, but health account plan members seemed to do a better job of getting prescriptions for chronic health conditions, CIGNA says.