Financial incentives won't change consumer behavior

April 23, 2007

CDHP participants were less likely than traditional health plan enrollees to change behavior and take advantage of cost-saving generic drugs, instead opting to curtail brand-medication use.

Consumer-directed health plans (CDHP) require more than financial incentives to help consumers make smart choices about their health and prescription use, according to a new study by PBM Express Scripts. In the study, CDHP participants were less likely than traditional health plan enrollees to change behavior and take advantage of cost-saving generic drugs, instead opting to curtail brand-medication use. The study reviewed the results to two national employers that began offering a CDHP as a benefit option in January 2006. The study involved 19,500 enrollees of employer A and 14,600 enrollees of employer B and examined prescription claims during the first nine months of 2005 and 2006, respectively. At both employers, it compared CDHP and traditional pharmacy benefit plan experiences.

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