Publication Abstract

Authors: Galbraith AA, Ross-Degnan D, Soumerai SB, Rosenthal MB, Gay C, Lieu TA

Title: Nearly half of families in high-deductible health plans whose members have chronic conditions face substantial financial burden.

Journal: Health Aff (Millwood) 30(2):322-31

Date: 2011 Feb

Abstract: High-deductible health plans-typically with deductibles of at least $1,000 per individual and $2,000 per family-require greater enrollee cost sharing than traditional plans. But they also may provide more affordable premiums and may be the lowest-cost, or only, coverage option for many families with members who are chronically ill. We surveyed families with chronic conditions in high-deductible plans and families in traditional plans to compare health care-related financial burden-such as experiencing difficulty paying medical or basic bills or having to set up payment plans. Almost half (48 percent) of the families with chronic conditions in high-deductible plans reported health care-related financial burden, compared to 21 percent of families in traditional plans. Almost twice as many lower-income families in high-deductible plans spent more than 3 percent of income on health care expenses as lower-income families in traditional plans (53 percent versus 29 percent). As health reform efforts advance, policy makers must consider how to modify high-deductible plans to reduce the financial burden for families with chronic conditions.