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Consumer-Directed Health Plans: Mixed Employer Signals, Complex Market Dynamics

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Abstract:

Health plans have expanded consumer-directed health plan (CDHP) product offerings—typically high-deductible health plans coupled with a spending account—and more employers are offering these products to workers, according to findings from the Center for Studying Health System Change's (HSC) 2007 site visits to 12 nationally representative metropolitan communities.
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In developing CDHPs, health plans are responding to a broader employer strategy to confer more responsibility on workers for their health care costs, lifestyle choices and treatment decisions. CDHP adoption by employers and consumers depends on a range of factors, including product features and employer characteristics, and varies across the 12 communities. While more large employers are introducing CDHPs into health benefit programs, adoption of CDHPs remains modest. Health plans and employers expect CDHP enrollment to grow as employers and employees become more knowledgeable about CDHP features, health plans develop more sophisticated support tools for plan enrollees, and there are more opportunities to learn from early adopters' experiences.