Consumer-driven health care is working in New Mexico

As Americans head to the polls to vote, the issue of “ObamaCare” and health care reform in general remains one of the most heated points of contention. Unfortunately for all of us, both major party candidates for President have supported centralized, bureaucratic control of health care and thus the issue of true health care reform remains elusive as a campaign point.

The good news is that free market health care, also known as “consumer driven health care” is working, and that includes new data from New Mexico (since I have a BlueEdge health savings account, my family and I were likely part of this particular report).

As free market health care expert Greg Scandlen writes:

We’ll start with a study by the Health Care Service Corporation (the Blue plans in Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico) on the experience of their customers with their CDH plan, known as BlueEdge. Enrollment in BlueEdge has passed 1.5 million people this year and this study tracks them from before they entered the Consumer-Directed plans, which include both HSAs and HRAs.

A press release reports that BlueEdge enrollees –

Were four percent more likely to use preventive services.
Reduced overall utilization by 12 percent.
Were 10 percent more likely to use generic medications.
Spent 24 percent less on inpatient and 8 percent less on outpatient services.
Reduced hospital ER care by 12 percent.

These are changes in behavior by the same people before and after they joined the BlueEdge program. Unfortunately, the study itself is not available to the public, but a summary on the company web site reports that the reductions grew over time, dropping by 9.1% in the first year, but by 11.4% over three years.

In other words, those who use consumer driven health care are more conscious about costs, but also are using preventative services at a higher rate than others in traditional insurance plans. To paraphrase the “Occupiers,” THIS is what health reform looks like!