Consumer-driven health care is a term that covers the plans put in place to enable patients or consumers to use Personal Health Savings Account, Health Reimbursement Arrangements, or any other invention of medical payment to pay for the cost of regular health care expenses directly (Kane L., 1998). The system is termed consumer-driven since the regular claims are catered for using a consumer-controlled account and not an insurance benefit that is fixed. The consumer benefits from the obvious advantage of being in control of his or her health budget. In addition, the system makes the consumer the sole decision-maker on any health care received.
The Revolution to affordable health care in America
The introduction of this system has led to the consumer being in a position to redirect a given sum of their health care money earned to fresh deposits like flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts, insurance policies that have low premiums, and relatively high deductibles, and arrangements for health reimbursement. The immediate result of these consumer-driven arrangements is that consumers have now become empowered by the fact that they control their money (John W., 2008).
Consumers have increasingly requested the information that they need to make informed decisions and choices in health care. On being in procession of both the information and the money, the consumers have been able to bring about changes in the provision of services making health care more accountable, affordable, convenient and efficient (Calabreta N., 2002). Rather than pay for maximum coverage to insurance companies consumers opted to pay for less costly insurance.
Why health care will become more affordable over the long term due to CDHC
On evaluating the above information, I feel that health care in America will become more affordable in the long term. This is because of the following reasons.
Reduction of premiums-When individuals and employers switch to health plans that are high deductible the insurance premiums on health care will come down. Often, this price of premiums is higher than that of the high deductibles leading to savings for employers and consumers (Regina E. 2004).
Savings can be used to fund consumer accounts-The money put in a health saving account formerly was going to the insurance company but with the current health care plans, it remains the property of the consumer whether the money is contributed directly by the consumer, a family member of the employer. This money earns interest when in the account and can also be used by the consumer to meet the cost of long-term health care at a nursing home.
The plan benefits both the healthy and the sick-Consumer driven care is not just for the wealthy and healthy as people claim. It reduces the cost of health care for the people who have high care expenses by limiting out-of-pocket exposure. This has made it possible for people who are chronically ill to comply with their treatment programs.
Consumers can choose their preferred services and their providers-Consumers can choose the preferred provider as long as this provider is licensed and offering services that are recognized as health care expenses. In the same light, the consumers are free to use the most costly drugs or the less expensive generics. Since consumers are spending their own money, they tend to be discreet and use just the necessary services (Edington D., 2001).
Since the revolution in health care that leads to the introduction of consumer-driven health care plans, consumers have been able to enjoy a range of affordable health care services. The care arrangements not only benefit the wealthy but also the poor and it also results in increased savings. In the long term, I feel that health care in America will become even much more affordable.
- Calabreta N., (2002), Consumer Driven, Patient Centered Health Care. Journal of the American Library association
- Edington D., (2001), Crossing the Quality Chasm: A new health system for the 21st century. National Academy Press, Washington DC
- John W., (2008), The Effect of Consumer Directed Health Plans on the Use of Preventive and Chronic Illness Services. Russell Sage Foundation, New York.
- Kane L., (1998), A Structured Review of Consumer Directed Health Care. Jossey-Bass, New Jersey.
- Regina E. (2004), Consumer Driven Health Care: implications for providers and payers and policy makers. Jossey-Bass, New Jersey.