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Friday, November 30, 2007

Consumer Directed Health Plans- Are they the cure for what ails us?

Are Consumer-Directed Health Plans (CDHPs) the wave of the future? Joe Paduda doesn't think so, and he discusses their limitations in a Business Week article entitled CDHPs: No Rx for Health Care. His thesis is that the plans may look good on paper, but the financial burden on plan members can be too high unless preventive care is encouraged by lowering the cost and maintenance medications are provided with a low co-pay.

Prevention is the key to 70% of the medical costs we incur in this country. 70% of disease in the United States is directly related to unhealthy lifestyle habits, smoking, obesity and inactivity. Pay for prevention now and we save billions later on. All those maintenance meds for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes? We would need a small fraction of what we use now if Americans ate less processed foods, moved more and lost weight. Exercise helps moods, stress, sleeping problems and more.

There is some potential good news on the horizon, according to recent news obesity rates look like they are plateauing among adults ( not among children, that is a whole other sad story). It is possible that the programs,both private and public might be paying off. We can only hope.

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