To make it easier for employees to choose their health care wisely, employers are providing them with a variety of tools including: comparative information about the costs of services and/or provider; comparative quality information on hospitals and physicians; and information on managing specific diseases. This report is an overview of the current state of knowledge on the effectiveness of these approaches and tools. Each of the next three sections addresses one of the three benefit-design approaches--high deductibles (section II), personal spending accounts (section III), and tiered-benefit designs (section IV). Section V examines point-of-use decision-support tools. Each section describes recent trends in adoption of the approach, as well as any evidence on its effectiveness in reducing health care use and spending while preserving and promoting access to appropriate care and health. Because the employee health benefit arena is evolving rapidly, the authors do not attempt to quantify the prevalence of different approaches. Instead, they characterize the direction that benefit redesign is taking, based on a review of the research literature and trade literature, and from discussions with insurers, employers, and experts in employer benefit design. The final section summarizes the state of current research and offers recommendations for priority research questions.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright holder. Further use of the material is subject to CC BY license. (More information)