CDHP analysis shows cost savings

By BenefitsPro


By Kathryn Mayer

Consumers who switched from a traditional plan to a consumer driven health plan saved money and more efficiently utilized health care services, a new analysis finds.

That’s the takeaway from the Health Care Service Corporation, which tracked more than 316,000 individual Blue Cross and Blue Shield members.

Its main finding? That “those migrating to a CDHP plan not only saw cost savings in the first year but continued to experience even lower health costs years later.”

Specifically, the study found that after switching from a traditional plan to HCSC’s BlueEdge CDHP, members saw a three year average reduction in:
  • Medical expenses – decreased by 11.8 percent

  • Overall spending, combined medical and pharmacy costs – decreased by 10.5 percent

  • Inpatient care costs – decreased by 23.5 percent

  • Outpatient care costs – decreased by 5.1 percent

  • Professional services costs – decreased by 14 percent
HCSC also found that CDHP members take more advantage of preventive health measures and increasingly use generic prescriptions. Similarly, a report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute earlier this year found that moving to CDHP plans often reduces the number of both generic and brand-name prescriptions filled.

The study is the latest evidence of savings and growth in CDHPs from those in the industry.

A Cigna study in April found that participants in consumer-driven health care plans tend to spend, on average, 12 percent less on their health care than do those in traditional health insurance plans. EBRI research also found that those in CDHPs tend to have higher income, more education, and be in better health.

According to the American Association of Preferred Provider Organizations, enrollment in consumer-driven health plans grew 15 percent in 2013, up to 45 million from 39 million in 2012.

“These findings continue to be significant as they paint an accurate picture of the benefits members can experience with CDHPs,” said Thomas Meier, vice president, product development at HCSC.

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