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High deductible—based health insurance plans require consumers to pay for care until reaching the deductible amount. However, information is limited on how well consumers understand their benefits and how they respond to these costs. In telephone interviews, we found that consumers had limited knowledge about their deductibles yet frequently reported changing their care-seeking behavior because of the cost. Poor knowledge limited the effects of the deductible design, with some consumers avoiding care for services that were exempt from the deductible. Consumers need more information and decision support to understand their benefits and to differentiate when care is necessary, discretionary, or unnecessary.


Reed, Mary, Vicki Fung, Mary Price, Richard Brand, Nancy Benedetti, Stephen F. Derose, Joseph Newhouse, and John Hsu. "High-Deductible Health Insurance Plans: Efforts To Sharpen A Blunt Instrument." Health Affairs 28.4 (July/August 2009): 1145-1154.