Study: High-deductible plans cut ED visits

A new study performed by Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care suggests that consumers with high-deductible health plans visit hospital emergency departments less often than patients with traditional health plan designs. The study, which compared 60,000 members of a traditional Massachusetts plan with 8,700 members of a high-deductible plan, found that there was only a slight difference between the groups for first-time emergency room visits. Members of the high-deductible plan, meanwhile, cut back 25 percent on repeat ED visits for relatively mild conditions such as headaches, nausea or colds. However, return visits for severe conditions like asthma were not affected by the type of plan studied.

To get additional details on the study:
- read this United Press International article