High-deductible plans associated with delays

by jerry on April 21, 2019
NPR published a piece showing that women with high-deductible plans often delayed screenings and treatment. The effect was true, regardless of whether the women or low-income or high-income (although high-income participants tended to delay less). There is no particular reason to think that this effect is limited to only women.

I did not read the study itself (payment required), but one question is what benchmark the authors measured the delay from (e.g. from the control group or from a triggering event or diagnosis). Regardless, the study highlights one of the challenges of high-deductible health plans, which is that people may delay appropriate medical care because of the high deductible. Ideally, people would be more cost-sensitive (e.g. comparison shop for non-emergency procedures) without compromising their health. Unfortunately, there is not an inexpensive and reliable way for everyone to know whether they really need to seek treatment.