This excerpt taken from the UNH 8-K filed Dec 19, 2006.
THREE-YEAR STUDY SHOWS CONSUMER-DRIVEN HEALTH PLANS CONTINUE TO STIMULATE POSITIVE CHANGES IN CONSUMER HEALTH BEHAVIOR
Minneapolis (July 12, 2006) A UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) study has found that individuals in consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) are more likely to be actively engaged in managing their health and making health care decisions than individuals in more traditional arrangements. While the study sample remains relatively small because of the recent introduction of CDHPs, it is the largest study to date, covering a three-year period and examining more than 50,000 individuals. The results provide solid and measurable examples of how health care spending and consumer behavior can be positively advanced without adverse effects on health outcomes when consumers are given the necessary support.
These results reinforce the revolutionary impact that the concept of consumerism is having by providing vehicles to effectively transfer knowledge and wealth to consumers so they can make wiser, more financially sound decisions about their health care, said Mike Tarino, CEO of Definity Health, a UnitedHealth Group company and pioneer in consumer-driven health care.
The CDHP study compares cost and utilization trends among approximately 40,000 individuals in high-deductible plans connected to Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs) to data from roughly 15,000 individuals enrolled in preferred provider organizations (PPOs). The study period was between 2003 and 2005 and consisted of two sample groups drawn from the same employers. This new data reinforces the results of earlier Definity and UnitedHealth Group studies, which have consistently shown that CDHP enrollees have higher usage of preventive care services and lower tendency to pursue discretionary acute care services.
Notable findings from the three-year study include:
While not yet conclusive, these findings support what weve seen anecdotally for the past several years: when consumers are given more information and responsibility for their health care, they will make efforts to assume more control over decision-making about the care they need in order to pursue the optimum courses of treatment. This in turn can help positively impact their health care outcomes and related costs, Tarino said.