Author Affiliations: Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar, University of California, Los Angeles (Dr Grudzen); and RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, Calif, and UCLA Center for Health Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles (Dr Brook).
In this issue of JAMA, Wharam and colleagues1 report findings from an observational study that assesses the relationship between transition to a high-deductible health plan and use of emergency departments (EDs). The authors use a sophisticated administrative data set, a large sample of patients enrolled in a modern employer-sponsored health plan, and impeccable health services research methods. Their major conclusion is that individuals whose health insurance coverage was switched to a high-deductible health plan, compared with those in a traditional health maintenance organization, reduced overall ED visits by about 10%, mainly for conditions of low and indeterminate severity.
Grudzen CR, Brook RH. High-Deductible Health Plans and Emergency Department Use. JAMA. 2007;297(10):1126-1127. doi:10.1001/jama.297.10.1126