High-deductible health plans are changing the way patients pay for and access care, and not in a good way, according to a survey of independent physicians conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago.The survey, which was prepared for and funded by the Physicians Advocacy Institute, asked 706 physicians how HDHPs are affecting patients. The survey found that 4 in 5 physicians believe HDHPs are a big driver of cost concerns among patients, and the same percentage of physicians said they believe their patients refuse or delay care because of cost concerns.
According to the physicians, HDHPs aren’t just changing patients’ healthcare experience. They’re also changing the role of the physician. Most survey respondents said their staff spends 300-plus hours every year educating patients about insurance coverage.
“High-deductible health plans were supposed to make us better healthcare consumers, but they have failed,” Donald Palmisano Jr., executive director and CEO of the Medical Association of Georgia. “They force people attracted by low premiums to choose between healthcare and housing, or food. They’re an idea that turned out to be bad for both patients and doctors.”