If consumer-directed health plans grow to account for half of all employer-sponsored insurance in the United States, health costs could drop by $57 billion annually—about 4 percent of all health care spending among the nonelderly.
This study estimated how healthy people value insurance coverage of specialty drugs, defined as high-cost drugs that treat cancer and other serious health conditions like multiple sclerosis, by quantifying willingness to pay via a survey.
The historic RAND Health Insurance Experiment found that patients had little or no control over their health care spending once they began to receive a physician's care, but this has changed for those enrolled in consumer-directed health plans.
People who are medically vulnerable — those with low incomes or chronic health problems — who enroll in high-deductible health plans are at no more risk for cutting back on needed health care than other people who enroll in the plans.
Advocates of high-deductible health plans, which shift more of the cost of care to individuals, believe that consumers will more carefully assess the balance of health care benefits versus costs, ultimately improving efficiency and quality of care.
The intent of parity regulation is to equalize private insurance coverage for mental and physical illness (an equity concern) and to eliminate wasteful forms of competition due to adverse selection (an efficiency concern). In 2001, a presidential directive requiring comprehensive parity was implemented in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program. In this study, the authors examine how health plans responded to the parity directive.
This report is an overview of the current state of knowledge on the effectiveness of these benefit-design approaches and tools: high deductibles, personal spending accounts, and tiered-benefits designs.
The results indicate continuing high support for requiring US health insurers to cover family planning services (87 percent in 1998 and 84 percent in 2003), but some loss of support (from 80 to 69 percent) for US sponsorship of family planning programs in developing countries.
Erin Taylor is an associate policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. Her research interests encompass pharmaceutical issue areas, including performance of the Medicare prescription drug benefit program, the impact of price controls on the pharmaceutical market, and access to pharmaceuticals in…