dollar bills disintegrating from hand Members who switched from low-deductible plans to high-deductible plans did see lower growth rates of spending, however, the reduction generally did not last for more than one year. (Photo: Shutterstock)

High-deductible health plans (HDHPs) have only a limited effect in health care spending growth over time, according to a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). The report used four years of claims data from a large national insurer and found that the only statistically significant case of lower growth associated with HDHPs is found with less cost-effective drugs.

The NBER report is a new look at what has become a popular strategy for addressing rising health care costs to employer-based insurance plans. The use of deductibles allows such plans to shift costs away from the insurer/employer and to the employee/plan member.

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