consumer-directed health plans, health care cost, health insurance, health savings accounts, high deductible health plans



  1. Masri, Maysoun Demachkie ScD, MBA, MPH
  2. Oetjen, Reid M. PhD
  3. Campbell, Claudia PhD


When Americans voted in November 2008, many had the presidential candidates' positions on health care reform in mind. Health savings accounts, which are high deductible health plans coupled with a tax-protected savings account, are 1 type of consumer-directed health plan (CDHP) that gained strong support from the Bush administration. Despite evidence of the effectiveness of CDHPs in constraining costs in other countries, the Obama health plan contains no mention of their role in future US health reform. This article seeks to provide the reader with a better understanding of how CDHPs can help to improve the use of health resources and reduce national health care expenditures by exploring the history and previous research on several types of consumer-directed plans and by providing a comparative analysis of the use of CDHPs in other countries.