Will Consumerism and Consumer-Directed Health Plans Transform U.S. Health Care?
Many industry observers believe that the U.S. health care system is in the midst of a transformational change centered on consumerism – the process of enabling and engaging consumers more directly in selection and purchase decisions about the health care services they use.
Consumerism is regularly cited in the news and is the subject of public and private discussion, both positive and negative. Concurrently, employer interest and employee enrollment in consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) is growing. According to Forrester, more than 6 million Americans – almost 4 percent of the commercially insured population – participate in a CDHP program, and enrollment is expected to increase to more than 40 million by 2010.
Although articles and opinions on health care consumerism and CDHPs are published on a daily basis, there are relatively few empirical or academic studies on the subject. Also, there appears to be a significant amount of misinformation circulating in the marketplace. The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, part of Deloitte LLP, has released Consumer-Directed Health Plans: Current Trends, Emerging Opportunities, a report that:
- Analyzes available trade and peer-reviewed studies to update readers about the current state of CDHP enrollment and operations
- Provides a summary of the studies and the reported experience of CDHP participants
- Offers a strategic perspective for executives considering the impact of CDHPs on their organizations
The trend seems clear: Most Americans will be playing a larger role in purchasing health services, either directly through individual health insurance policies and high-deductible plans, or indirectly by using tools to make comparisons among doctors, hospitals, treatment options and insurance products. Industry stakeholders should prepare now to address the challenges and opportunities that consumerism and CDHPs present in the transformation of this nation’s health care system.
For more information, read the attached report, Consumer-Directed Health Plans: Current Trends, Emerging Opportunities.