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Study proves the co-pay connection in chronic disease
Date:1/7/2008

crises and complications related to their disease. Even a barrier of a few dollars is enough to keep people from using the medicines they need the most.

All research to this point has shown that individuals will not buy important medical services even if theres a small financial barrier: $5 or even $2, says senior author Mark Fendrick, M.D., of the U-M Medical School and School of Public Health. This study showed that when you remove those barriers, people started using these high-value services significantly more. These results bolster the idea that health insurance benefits should be designed in ways that produce the most health per dollar spent.

Fendrick and first author Michael Chernew, Ph.D., of the Harvard Medical School, co-founded the Center for Value-Based Insurance Design, based at U-M. They conducted the study with co-authors from ActiveHealth Management, which had been retained by both companies in the study to provide voluntary disease-management programs for employees and dependents with 32 medical conditions.

Members of GlaxoSmithKlines Health Management Innovations division also took part in the study, which was supported by unrestricted funds from both GSK and Pfizer, Inc. The employers involved in the study have asked to remain anonymous. During the study period, ActiveHealth Management was acquired by Aetna, a major insurer, but there was no impact on the study.

The study involved more than 35,000 employees and dependents at the company where co-pays were reduced (Company A), and more than 70,000 employees and dependents at the other (Company B). All had regular phone contact with nurses in their disease management programs, who offered help based on each persons test results, medication use, doctor visits and other health information.

The researchers looked at use of five classes of drugs: heart-protecting ACE inhibitors and angiotensin-receptor blockers; blood-pressure-reducing beta blockers; diabet
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Contact: Kara Gavin
kegavin@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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