High deductibles clash with care coordination and primary care

From Modern Healthcare:

High deductibles add to consumers’ financial stress and dissuade some patients from getting needed medical care. That is not only worrisome, but it could also block attempts to reform U.S. healthcare, health-policy experts warn in the latest New England Journal of Medicine.

High deductibles—an increasingly common feature of private health plans—require patients to spend hundreds, or sometimes thousands of dollars to see doctors, fill prescriptions or get diagnostic tests before their insurance plan will begin to pick up the bill. But experts and advocates have long argued that deductibles can be a nondiscriminatory way to get patients to stop and consider the price and necessity of the medical care they seek.

“Substantial or poorly targeted cost sharing could easily undermine these approaches,” Fisher and Lee wrote. “Numerous studies have shown that cost sharing is a blunt instrument, causing patients to cut back on both needed and wasteful care.”