High-deductible plans pose no greater risk

June 10, 2011

People who are medically vulnerable who enroll in high-deductible health plans are at no more risk for cutting back on needed healthcare than other people who enroll in the 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 healthcare than other people who enroll in the plans, according to a new RAND Corp. study.

Using data from more than 360,000 families nationwide who enrolled in high-deductible health plans offered by their employers from 2003 to 2007, the RAND study examined the impact of high-deductible and consumer-directed health plans on families living in low-income areas where median income is below 200% of the federal poverty level.

Medical spending declined among all families enrolled in high-deductible and consumer-directed health plans, relative to similar families in traditional plans, with the reductions among medically vulnerable families generally being similar to that seen among other families, according to researchers.

The study found that high-deductible plans coupled with health savings accounts reduced spending by a greater amount than other types of high-deductible plans.