The House Ways and Means Committee today held a hearing examining whether consumer-directed health plans, which pair a health savings account with a high-deductible health plan, hold potential to lower costs and expand access to health care. In a statement submitted to the committee, AHA said CDHPs “may be an appropriate form of coverage for some individuals, including those who have high health care literacy and sufficient means to fund their HSAs or otherwise cover higher upfront costs. However, the AHA is concerned about the ability of these plans to lower costs and expand access to care for individuals who may not be aware of the limitations of such coverage and who do not have the means to fund their HSAs or otherwise pay for initial care out of pocket.” Without addressing the underlying cost of care, insurance benefit designs like HDHPs and HSAs simply “shift responsibility for upfront costs from one entity to another – first from the payer to the consumer and then to providers in the form of bad debt,” the association said. To improve the cost of coverage without putting access to care at risk, AHA encouraged Congress to address the “underlying drivers of high cost,” such as the unsustainable growth in prescription drug prices, and promote enrollment in comprehensive health coverage.

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