Consumer-directed health plans (CDPs) represent an emerging approach to health insurance that transfers more responsibility to consumers for the cost and quality of their care. In this AARP Public Policy Institute Issue Paper, Judith H. Hibbard of the University of Oregon, Joyce Dubow of PPI, and Ellen Peters of Decision Research and the University of Oregon examine what will be required of consumers to effectively navigate CDPs. The study also explores the types of decision supports that will be needed to assist them.
Public policy implications that are raised relate not only to appropriate oversight of emerging models of insurance but to the types of support and consumer protections that government and other large purchasers should consider. Many of the observations and recommendations for helping consumers make more informed health care decisions are applicable to other health insurance models as well. (37 pages)