Originally Published Research In The Sociology of Health Care. 2010; 28:197-214. DOI: 10.1108/S0275-4959(2010)0000028011

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Consumer-Directed Health Plans (CDHPs) are proposed as an option to control healthcare costs. No research has addressed their applicability in rural settings. This study analyzes three years (2003–2005) of healthcare expenditure and utilization incurred by two employers and a national carrier providing data from a rural state, Kentucky. The study included two measures of expenditures (health care and prescription drugs) and three measures of utilization (physician visits, hospital admissions, and hospital inpatient days). In general, the CDHP successfully controlled the growth of medical costs. These findings suggest that CDHPs may be a viable alternative benefit structure for rural employers.


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