Study: CDHPs motivate patients to avoid care, discontinue drugs

While some continue to encourage more use of CDHPs, a recent study suggests that they may have a significant downside. This is important data given that the number of large companies offering a CDHP has almost doubled over the last two years, according to research by Watson Wyatt and the National Business Group on Health.

The study by Oregon researchers suggests that the plans can encourage plan members to avoid care and stop taking drugs to treat chronic medical conditions. The study, published this week in Health Affairs, compared enrollees in high-deductible, low-deductible and PPO plans. They found that people enrolled in CDHPs were more likely to stop taking drugs to treat high blood pressure and lower cholesterol than those in traditional commercial health plans. During the second year of the study, they found that even some enrollees in lower-deductible CDHPs were postponing medical procedures or cutting back on their use of prescribed drugs. Meanwhile, the University of Oregon researchers failed to see behaviors produced that proponents of CDHPs expected to see, including more use of health information, higher generic use or more comparison shopping among diagnostic test providers.

To learn more about the study:
- read this Portland Business Journal piece

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