HDHP (High Deductible Health Plan) the new preventative medicine
Excellent article in American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) by Robert Raspa, M.D. highlighting how 'good insurance' prevents patients from seeing their primary care providers.
Due to high deductibles, patients are skipping their primary care appointments until serious health issues occur landing them in urgent care or hospital emergency departments where even larger bills await.
With patients skipping their primary care appointments they are missing opportunities to keep a pulse on important overall health indicators. Individuals can catch and correct issues with blood glucose, hypertension, heart and kidney function, and even fundamental vitamin deficiencies by establishing a consistent relationship with their primary care provider. If any of these benchmarks are suboptimal and caught early then a great deal of disease is quite preventable whether by lifestyle improvements or well-established medications.
The problem is not with patients. High deductible insurance plans and mega-hospital systems carry the lion's share of the burden of responsibility. Dr. Raspa highlighted one troubling mega-hospital practice of charging 'facility fees' for anything the doctor does for the patient within the office from blood draws to vaccines.
Dr. Raspa suggests that all primary care visits should be covered in whole by insurance to ease the financial burden to patients, facility fees should be abolished, and policy created to permit physicians to manage chronic conditions without the burden of copays.
He makes the accusation, and tell us if you agree, that insurance companies wager that consumers of high deductible plans will not utilize healthcare (baring something serious) enabling a steady income of profitable premiums to line their pockets. For consumers, we wager that nothing serious will happen to us as we avoid using healthcare because our deductible is so high.