While health savings accounts and consumer driven health plans demonstrably give consumers more control over their use of health insurance dollars, they may also encourage decisions about health care that could be detrimental to consumers' long-term health.

A study of 18,000 employees with a company that switched from a traditional health plan to a CDHP/HSA model found that plan members weren't taking advantage of preventative health options, and instead postponing some medical care.

The study comes from the Employee Benefit Research Institute. It reviewed use data from the plan members over five years — the first year was prior to the switch to the CDHP/HSA model. Data was contrasted with that derived from a control group coverage group of more than 82,000 members insured via a traditional PPO.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.