Am J Manag Care 16:833-840.
Center for Child Health Care Studies, Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, Boston, MA, USA
OBJECTIVE: To examine how enrollment in high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) affects use of well-child visits relative to traditional plans, when preventive care is exempt from the deductible.
STUDY DESIGN: Pre-post comparison between groups.
METHODS: We selected children aged 18 years enrolled in a large Massachusetts health plan through employers offering only 1 type of plan. Children were in traditional plans for a 12-month baseline period between 2001 and 2004, then were either switched by a decision of the parent’s employer to an HDHP or kept in the traditional plan (controls) for a 12-month follow-up period. Preventive and other office visits were exempt from the deductible and subject to copayments, as in traditional plans. The primary outcome was whether the child received well-child visits recommended for the 12-month period. Using generalized linear mixed models, we compared the change in receipt of recommended well-child visits between baseline and follow-up for the HDHP group relative to controls.
RESULTS: We identified 1598 children who were switched to HDHPs and 10,093 controls. Between baseline and follow-up, the mean proportion of recommended well-child visits received by HDHP children decreased slightly from 0.846 to 0.841, and from 0.861 to 0.855 for controls. In adjusted models, there was no significant difference in the change in probability that recommended well-child visits were received by HDHP children compared with controls (P = .69).
CONCLUSIONS: Receipt of recommended well-child visits did not change for children switching from traditional plans to HDHPs that exempt preventive care from the deductible.
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