Payers: High-deductible health plans don't drive positive consumer behavior

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Only 3.4% of respondents to a study conducted by Change Healthcare identified high-deductible health plans as the best approach for turning passive patients into active healthcare consumers.


Instead, more than a quarter (25.4%) of respondents said incentives such as lower premiums or bonuses for activities such as participating in an exercise program are the best ways to drive positive behavioral change.


Establishing patient partnerships (23.7%), promoting healthcare literacy (14.1%), leveraging health risk management and programs (12.4%), using gamification software (8.5%), and offering price transparency tools (7.9%) all ranked above offering high-deductible health plans.


The results are not altogether unsurprising: research has suggested that rather than encouraging patients to shop for treatment, high-deductible plans cause them to delay care or avoid it altogether.


Change Healthcare conducted the survey late last year. It was open to 2,000 of its customers, who range from national to regional payers, members of the HealthCare Executive Group and the Health Plan Alliance, as well as healthcare leaders working at vendors, in government, or in academia.


Eighty percent of respondents said they are working to adopt value-based healthcare. They also identified obstacles to achieving value-based reimbursements, including a lack of healthcare IT systems, resistance to change from physicians, and confusion about payment models and risk management.


Fifty percent said concerns about security and privacy are the main issues facing the adoption of digital health tools. Fifty-one percent use social media as an engagement tool, but traditional marketing techniques such as surveys and focus groups remain the industry standard (71% and 56%, respectively).


Sixty-three percent said clinical data integration plays the most important role in driving administrative cost efficiencies, according to the report.


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