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CNBC: High-deductible plans tied to lower health use, higher out-of-pocket spending

By: Dan Mangan

Your less expensive health insurance plan could cost you — even if you use less health care.

People in so-called consumer-driven health plans tend to use fewer medical services than people with other types of coverage, a new study finds.

But they also tend to spend substantially more out of their own pocket at the same time, both in dollar terms and as a share of their overall health costs, according to the study.

The Health Care Cost Institute report looked at costs from 2010 through 2014 associated with consumer-driven health plans, or CDHPs, which tie plans with high deductibles to either a health savings account or to a health-reimbursement arrangement.

High-deductible plans require enrollees to pay more out of pocket for health services than traditional health plans. The deductible in a plan must be met before the plan pays for services. The HSAs and HRAs help to lessen the sting of such costs because they allow either workers or employers to set aside tax-advantaged money to pay for out-of-pocket costs.