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Doctors React To Account-Based Plans

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Many primary care doctors have a favorable or neutral opinion about health plans that incorporate health savings accounts or health reimbursement arrangements.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have published figures concerning physicians’ views of account-based health plans in the latest issue of the American Journal of Managed Care.

The researchers, led by Dr. Giridhar Mallya, based the paper on results from a survey of about 500 U.S. primary care physicians.

About 46% of the participants said they have a favorable opinion of account-based plans, 37% said they have a neutral opinion, and only 17% said they have an unfavorable opinion, the researchers write.

About 45% said they worry that account-based plans will reduce use of health care that is “clinically indicated,” but 71% agreed that the plans would discourage use of care that is not clinically indicated.

The researchers found that the participating doctors felt much more comfortable about talking to patients about their own prices than about talking to patients about the price of hospital care or specialty care.

About 85% said they were prepared to talk to patients about the cost of their own office visits, but only 38% said they could talk about the cost of specialty consultations, and only 33% said they were ready to talk about the cost of hospital care.


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