The Downside of High Deductible Health Insurance

The Downside of High Deductible Health Insurance
February 17 01:00 2016

High deductible health insurance plans were supposed to help consumers cut healthcare costs. The idea was that since consumers would have to pay a large chunk of their own money for medical care before insurance kicks in, they would shop around to get the best prices.

But it hasn’t turned out that way. According to a research paper published earlier in February in JAMA Internal Medicine, people in high deductible health insurance plans are no more likely than those with traditional health insurance to look for more affordable care.

The study, conducted by researchers at Harvard University and University of Southern California, surveyed 2,000 people. About half had high deductibles—more than $1,250 for an individual and $2,500 for a family. While the majority of people surveyed said they were worried about costs, just 4 percent of those in high deductible health insurance plans said they compared prices the last time they had medical treatment, versus just slightly more than the 3 percent of those in plans with low deductibles. Not a big difference.

“Simply increasing a deductible, which gives enrollees skin in the game, appears insufficient to facilitate price shopping,” the study concludes…

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