Aetna this week released results from a six-year study of its consumer-driven health plan offerings that show the plans saved employers saved millions and empowered consumers to seek more preventive care and routine screenings, use generic prescriptions and visit the ER less often.

Truthfully, I wasn't even sure whether or not to post this as news, because I feel like a kid with a Ouija board could have predicted these results. CDHPs save employers a significant amount over PPOs because they don't have to cover the underutilization of services healthy people don't use, and the overutilization of services that members don't truly need.

And, CDHP members seek preventive care and routine screenings in larger numbers because they usually are the services that the plans cover at 100%. Members use generics and visit the ER less because the alternatives -- paying out of pocket for brand-name drugs and ER fees -- are too expensive when members have to face their true costs.

I think the true measure of CDH success should be whether members are healthier, not just less expensive to cover.

Just my two cents.

What do you think? How would you define "success" regarding CDH? Comment and let me know.

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