Customers enrolled in Cigna's consumer-directed health plans spent less on medical services and did more to improve their health last year than people in traditional health insurance plans, according to a new report from the insurer.
The number of customers enrolled in Cigna's consumer-directed health plans grew 26 percent in 2012, the company said. Now one in five customers are participating in a plan linked to a health savings account or health reimbursement account.
Consumer-directed health plans generally have higher deductibles and lower premiums than traditional health plans, and they are linked to savings accounts. Customers can use money from the accounts to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses.
The "Seventh Annual Cigna Choice Fund Experience Study" compared Cigna's customers in consumer-directed plans with those enrolled in traditional preferred provider organizations (PPOs) and health maintenance organizations (HMOs). Compared to people in traditional plans, customers in Cigna's consumer-directed health plans:
- Lowered their risk of developing or worsening a chronic condition, improving their health profile by 12 percent in the first year.
- Spent 13 percent less on medical services.
- Were twice as likely to complete a health risk assessment, and, if they had a chronic illness, up to 25 percent more likely to participate in a disease management program.
- Were 59 percent more likely to use the insurer's directory to compare costs.
- Were more likely to choose generic medications.
- Used the emergency room less.
- Sought preventive care more frequently.
The study also found that customers in consumer-directed health plans were slightly more satisfied with their health care than those in traditional plans.