Study Suggests HDHPs Not Working As Intended

HDHP participants are putting off care which could result in greater costs down the road and only 41% say they are better health care consumers.

By Rebecca Moore | November 02, 2016
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Employers like high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) because they transfer more of the costs of health care to employees, and many employees choose these plans for the lower premiums, or upfront cost.

However, a survey commissioned by is finding that HDHPs are not working as intended. For one thing, 64% of respondents said they delayed care because they didn’t want to pay the high deductible. Putting off necessary care could result in much higher costs down the road.

Les Masterson, managing editor of, says health insurers and employers will need to make sure they are implementing plans and programs that actually don’t cost more money in the long run.

In addition, a key part of HDHPs is the idea of creating better health care consumers—one reason HDHPs are often called consumer driven health plans (CDHPs) because the idea is to educate the health care consumer so he/she can make better health care decisions (and save money in the process). But, the survey found mixed results.

Most respondents said they are getting more information from their health insurer (63%) and doctors (61%) to make them better health care consumers. Sixty percent said they shop around for health care services, which is a positive response for HDHPs. However, only 41% of respondents said they now consider themselves better health care consumers.

Thirty-seven percent of respondents have an HDHP. Forty-five percent said they chose an HDHP because it was the most cost-effective option; 37% said it made sense for their situation; and 16% said their employer only gave them an HDHP choice.

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