High Insurance Deductibles Cut Into Diagnostic Imaging

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High Insurance Deductibles Cut Into Diagnostic Imaging
High Insurance Deductibles Cut Into Diagnostic Imaging

HealthDay News — U.S. patients whose health insurance plans have high deductibles undergo fewer diagnostic imaging tests, according to a study published in Medical Care.

Researchers analyzed 2010 insurance data from more than 21 million adults nationwide and considered plans with high deductibles to be those with an annual deductible of at least $1,200 for one person and $2,400 for a family.

The researchers found that patients in plans with high deductibles underwent 7.5% fewer diagnostic imaging tests, such as X-rays and computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging, than those with other plans. This resulted in 10.2% less in imaging payments.

"We had hoped to find that patients were reducing use of low-value imaging, but we found they reduced all use similarly," senior author Kimberley Geissler, PhD, from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, said in a university news release. "It seems patients are not informed enough to discern which tests are more optional and which are medically necessary."

Reference

Zheng S, Ren ZJ, Heineke J, Geissler KH. Reductions in Diagnostic Imaging With High Deductible Health Plans. Med Care. 2016;54(2):110-7.

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