Study: Savings and risks in health insurance trend

May 7, 2012 - 4:06 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — There's a new study out on consumer-directed health plans, the hottest trend in job-based health insurance.

It says the plans, which combine a medical savings account with high-deductible insurance, could save $57 billion a year if half of workers ultimately sign up for them.

About 1 out of every 6 workers has a consumer-directed plan, and the market is growing fast.

There's a warning flag, though. The study out Monday in the journal Health Affairs finds that workers in consumer-directed plans may also forgo needed care, even preventive services covered at no extra cost to them. Misunderstandings about what's covered may be to blame.

The plans charge lower premiums than traditional insurance. But deductibles, the annual amount you pay before insurance kicks in, can be twice as high or more.