Consumer-Driven Health Plans Reduce Costs by Double Digits

Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), operator of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, has just released results of five years of data in its consumer-driven health plans.

The study tracked more than 316,000 individual Blue Cross and Blue Shield members and found those migrating to a CDHP plan not only saw cost savings in the first year but continued to experience even lower health costs years later. This study measured and tracked the claims experience of members previously enrolled in traditional plans who switched to a CDHP, not just those members who selected a CDHP over those who did not.

The study found that after switching from a traditional plan to HCSC’s BlueEdge CDHP, members saw a three year average reduction in:

  • Medical expenses — decreased by 11.8 percent
  • Overall spending, combined medical and pharmacy costs — decreased by 10.5 percent
  • Inpatient care costs — decreased by 23.5 percent
  • Outpatient care costs – decreased by 5.1 percent
  • Professional services costs – decreased by 14.0 percent.

Comments (13)

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  1. Don Levit says:

    Are there any statistcs showing the amounts contributed to HSAs, the amounts, used, and the balances?
    Hopefuilly, all this reduced spending leads to increases in HSA balances, leading to higher funded deductibles,leading to lower premiums.
    Don Levit

    • John R. Graham says:

      Sure: Greg Scandlen covers that frequently at this blog. Just search under his name!

  2. Frank says:

    It would be good if these results drive discussion for further reform.

    • Matthew says:

      Maybe this is where the conservative movement should pick up the ball and run with it.

  3. Flyover Country American says:

    This is great news, and indeed ought to drive much more of the discussion on further reform. HSAs work – they save on employer costs, employee costs, and they bring real market forces into the healthcare market. It’s a win-win for employer and employee.

    But not so much for the government, who won’t get to sink its teeth into 1/6 of the US economy and direct more of our actions.

  4. Phill S says:

    All of these savings are quite substantial. Can you imagine how much money we would save if our market was more conducive to consumer driven healthcare solutions?

    • James M. says:

      Not only that, can you imagine the savings?! And how many more people will get quality healthcare!

  5. SPM says:

    We need to hear more about the CDHPs. I believe more than 15 million people are currently enjoying their benefits, but I want even more people to be made aware of the possibilities they offer. Patients would be able to direct more of the healthcare choices and would also face a brighter job market due to the lower constraints placed upon employers.

    • Thomas says:

      “I believe more than 15 million people are currently enjoying their benefits”

      More people are on these plans than Obamacare exchange plans. And yet they are pleased with their benefits and Obamacare people are stuck with expensive, narrow plans.

  6. Don Levit says:

    The question remains “What happened to premiums?”
    Were premiums reduced over time, or were the premium increases smaller than before.
    Health Matchiong Insurance through National Prosperity Life and Health will deliver lower premiums every year, for each employer, overall.
    Don Levit
    Treasurer of NPLH

  7. Freedom Lover says:

    Inpatient costs have decreased by nearly a quarter with HSAs! No longer should politicians say that they cannot do anything to lower costs – they have no excuses anymore. HSAs are the answer.

  8. Jay says:

    Consumer driven plans reduce costs? You don’t say!

  9. Erik says:

    It could also be that the high deductible CDHP’s carry is preventing people from accessing care which would drive down costs. I believe most HSA Accounts are un-funded or carry small amounts.