BLOOMFIELD, Conn., September 08, 2015 - Following years of study of how consumer driven health plans (CDHPs) improve health costs, a Cigna (NYSE: CI) white paper released today examines how income level, plan design features such as deductibles and employer health savings account contributions influence individuals' health management choices.
Key findings from the Cigna white paper Maximizing the Value of Consumer- Driven Health Plans include:
- CDHPs are not causing vulnerable populations -- such as lower income individuals or those with a chronic illness -- to avoid care, though opportunities exist for this group to use their plan more wisely;
- For HSA consumers health management practices are more influenced by contributions to a health spending account than income level;
- Total medical cost correlates more with deductibles and employer and employee health account contribution levels than the type of consumer driven health plan (health reimbursement arrangement or health savings account) in the first year of introduction of the new benefit plan offering.
"As the prominence of consumer driven health plans continue to grow, Cigna's analysis focuses on the key question of the day: how do higher deductibles and health savings accounts affect how people consume health care?" said Aneesh Kumar, vice president in charge of Cigna's enterprise product solutions. "The good news is that concerns of the effect of CDHPs on vulnerable populations may be unwarranted. Even better, employer contributions to employee's health spending account are causing consumers to spend their health care dollars in measurably wiser ways."
Income, Contributions and Benefits Management
According to the study, it does not appear that lower income populations are avoiding care, though it does appear this group would benefit from better and more information to help them in seeking appropriate care.
Notably, consumers with higher contributions to their health accounts - regardless of income level -- appear to better manage their health benefits. For example, they are more likely to use myCigna.com to view pricing and quality information; they are more likely to use their preventive care benefits; and less likely to go to the ER in non-emergency situations.
"Perhaps the biggest challenge for CDHPs is that they are misunderstood," Kumar observed. "Our white paper also looks at how people learn about their new CDH plan at varying speeds and how we can predict, identify and proactively support customers' transitions."
According to the Cigna white paper, predictive modeling can help anticipate how people will adapt to a CDHP by leveraging five primary drivers that determine how quickly customers will successfully transition: 1) their health risks, 2) outpatient surgery use, 3) hospital admission patterns, 4) gender, and 5) having dependents.
When these variables are understood and addressed, proactive communication strategies can then be personalized to help facilitate consumer's transitions.
"The better we understand our customers, the better we can help them understand their plans, the more they will benefit in terms of access, affordability and quality of care," Kumar said.
Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) is a global health service company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. All products and services are provided exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Life Insurance Company of North America and Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. Such products and services include an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, vision, supplemental benefits, and other related products including group life, accident and disability insurance. Cigna maintains sales capability in 30 countries and jurisdictions, and has more than 89 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit www.cigna.com.