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High-Deductible Health Insurance Plans Too Risky for Children

Children and High-Deductible Health Insurance Plans

With 20 percent of employers now offering high-deductible health insurance plans (HDHP), which are essentially catastrophic health insurance plans, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is concerned about risks these plans place on children.

A new AAP policy statement, "High-Deductible Health Plans and the New Risks of Consumer-Driven Health Products," discusses the implications of HDHPs on families and pediatricians.

Of particular concern is that families with HDHPs are likely to delay or avoid seeking care when they are faced with paying for care before the deductible is met, which means these children may not get the preventive care they need for long-term good health.

The financial risks are significant under HDHPs, especially for low- to moderate-income families and for families whose children have special health care needs.

Among the recommendations, the policy advocates that health insurance coverage be provided for preventive services including well-child care, immunizations and appropriate screenings.

Preventive services should be covered before the health insurance deductible is met.

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