NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


November 22, 2005

There is a positive impact from engaging individuals in decisions about their health and health care spending, say researchers. Consumers enrolled in UnitedHealthcare's consumer driven health care (CDH) plans are changing the way they think about their health and health care. In addition, the effects deepen as members are enrolled over time:

  • Some 70 percent of re-enrollees report being more actively involved in health and lifestyle decisions, compared to 60 percent of new enrollees.
  • Consumers enrolled in a CDH plan that incorporates activation services such as personalized health messaging and coaching to support decision-making perceive that the plan "helps me get the care I need" and "helps me save money on health care" at rates significantly higher than those in a model without these services.

Consumers are accessing needed care -- rebutting early concerns that success would come at the price of appropriate, early care, say researchers:

  • Use of preventive services is higher among CDH members on a risk-adjusted basis.
  • Chronically ill members reduce visits in the emergency room.

Consumers are changing their behavior -- slowing the rate of health care cost trend in the process: In a study of 100,000 individuals continuously enrolled in the plans over a two-year period, researchers observed lower trend lines for utilization of health services such as emergency room visits, office visits and outpatient surgery.

Source: "Transforming Health Care: One Person at a Time," Definity Health, November 2005.


Browse more articles on Health Issues