A new study completed at Harvard University examined the effects of high deductible health plans on health care use. Approximately 23,500 high deductible health plan members with diabetes were followed from 2003 to 2012, each of whom was enrolled in a low deductible plan for a year and then switched to a high deductible plan for a year.
Researchers found that after transitioning to the high deductible plan, ER visits decreased by 4%, while hospitalizations decreased by 5.6%. Overall health care expenditures decreased by 3.8%. Patients from low-income neighborhoods experienced higher ER visit expenditures and high-severity hospitalization days.
These findings were published in Diabetes Care on January 30, 2018.