Consumer-driven health care is a three-level health insurance plan that enables members to directly pay their routine health care costs through medical payment products such as Health Reimbursement Accounts and Health Savings Accounts.
The first tier is a savings account, the second is out-of-pocket payments, and the third is an insurance plan. The members are protected from devastating medical expenses by a high-deductible health plan. These high-deductible policies are cheaper.
The members use a pre-funded spending account to pay their routine medical dues using debit cards that insurance or bank plans provide. When there is no longer any balance in the account, the members are expected to pay their dues as in a regular deductible. This system ensures health budget control to the patients as consumer-controlled accounts are employed in settling routine claims.
The consumers have the power to make decisions about the type of health care that is administered to them. Consumer-driven health care plan gives the patients the power to control their health care costs and, therefore, they are able to avoid spending on low-value and unnecessary health (Yi, 2010).
One argument against Consumer-driven health care is that people might disregard preventive care. The patients might neglect preventive care in order to preserve the money in their accounts. When the patients are faced with the option of paying to prevent future illnesses with money at their cost, they might disregard it. They may underrate the possible danger of ignoring preventive care. The consumers may also assume that the appropriate policy will definitely cover the medical costs if they fall sick.
If there is no separate funding provided to cater for preventive care, people will end up neglecting it (Gould, 2006). However, this criticism is unfounded as the consumers who own the Health Savings Accounts are more likely to seek information about the benefits and costs of the plan and plan for their future medical needs.
They are also more likely to take part in preventive programs including stress management, nutrition, and exercise. Moreover, any good consumer-driven health care plan will provide separate funds and special support for health care for the prevention of illness in future. These include screening tests and regular checkups.
The National Health Care Plan aims to grant access to medical insurance to the Americans. The plan will ensure that more people access insurance by expanding Medicaid and helping low and middle income citizens to purchase private coverage by providing federal grants.
Experts have been entrusted with the responsibility of limiting government compensation only to effective treatments in order to reduce the growing health care cost. The National Health Care Plan adopted by Congress will have several impacts on the Consumer-driven health care plan.
The consumer-driven health care is endangered since the National Health Care Plan has restricted what the Health Savings Accounts can be used to pay for, and they are under a threat to be made non viable. The National Health Care Plan is also likely to lead to higher insurance premiums for the healthy and the young and, therefore, these consumers will most likely go for the consumer-driven health care plan, which is a cheaper option (McKenzie, Pingerand Kotecki, 2011).
Gould, E. (2006). Consumer-driven Health Care is a False Promise. Retrieved from http://www.epi.org/publication/webfeatures_viewpoints_consumer_driven_healthcare/
McKenzie, J. F., Pinger, R. R. and Kotecki, J. E. (2011). An Introduction to Community Health. USA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
Yi, S.G. (2010). Consumer-Driven Health Care: What Is It, and What Does It Mean for
Employees and Employers? Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/opub/cwc/cm20101019ar01p1.htm