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Patient Cost-Sharing Innovations: Promises and Pitfalls

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Publication Date: January 2004

Publisher(s): Center for Studying Health System Change

Author(s): Sally Trude; Joy M. Grossman

Series: Issue Brief No. 75

Topic: Health (Health care financing)

Type: Brief

Abstract:

Over the next decade, health plans and employers will refine patient cost sharing to encourage workers to seek more cost-effective care, according to a panel of market and health policy experts at a Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) conference. Instead of using a single, large deductible, employers and health plans will likely vary patient cost sharing by choice of provider, site and type of service, so patients choosing less effective care options pay more. Employers also will try to limit financial hardships for low-income workers by, for example, varying cost sharing based on workers' income. However, significant obstacles could hinder the effectiveness of emerging cost-sharing strategies, including inadequate information on quality of care and provider resistance.