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Issue Brief (Commonw Fund). 2004 Aug;(773):1-4.

Will consumer-directed health care improve system performance?

Abstract

Consumer-directed health care plans have attracted attention as a method for managing rising health care spending by giving consumers greater financial control over their health care. However, increased cost-sharing--the principal tool used by these plans to achieve lower spending--may also cause patients to consume less care, even when that care is essential. Research studies have found that lower-income individuals and those with serious health concerns will particularly be at risk, as these consumers bear the burden of higher out-of-pocket costs. Instead of focusing solely on financial incentives, the real goal should be to encourage quality and efficiency among health systems, physicians, and hospitals.

PMID:
15320335
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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