Most Consumers Don't Ask About the Price of Health Care Services
How interested are consumers in the price of health care services? Results from our Consumer Opinion survey indicate that most consumers have never asked about the price of a health care service before getting care. Fewer than 30 percent asked about price in the past year. Findings like these suggest that consumers are not in the habit of inquiring about cost. Some reasons for this include: not being motivated to ask about price (because someone else pays), not feeling comfortable asking about price, or not feeling certain as to where to get the information. Looking more closely at what influences consumers to ask about price, our survey asked about the individual’s financial responsibility for services. As one might expect, those who paid more for care (through higher deductibles) were much more likely to ask about price. What are the implications for consumer-directed plans? See our latest research brief for more.
For additional information, view our on-the-street consumer video interviews:
Family Fees Interviews. In this video segment, consumers are asked how much health insurance costs for a family of four on average. Some are very knowledgeable about costs, while others are very unsure. The range of guesses is quite large, varying almost tenfold.
Care Is Costly interviews. In this video segment, consumers are asked how much specific health care services costs. Guesses about the cost of appendix removal vary widely, from less than $1,000 to “astronomical.” Guesses about the cost of an ambulance ride vary tenfold, and some report fees from personal experience.