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High-Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) Reduce Consumer Health Care Use, but Decisions Based On Cost Alone May Not Be Healthy

Jeff Kullgren’s recent article in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that among HDHP enrollees in New England, lower-income families were more likely than higher-income families to report delaying or forgoing health care, although both groups engaged in the behavior. Based on Kullgren’s findings the New York Times opened a discussion about whether consumers who share medical costs have enough knowledge to make health care decisions, while National Public Radio reported that Kullgren’s work echoed results from an older study showing that HDHPs will have a disproportionate impact on the poor. In local coverage, the Philadelphia Inquirer mentioned an accompanying Archives commentary about “value-based insurance design,” which might be a healthier option than HDHPs.