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Americans prioritizing healthcare pricing information before receiving care

Posted On Thu, June 7, 2012

A recent poll compiled jointly by Thomson Reuters and NPR showed that many Americans have explored health insurance pricing options before actually accepting a treatment option.

The poll explained that 16 percent of Americans who have needed to get some type of treatment for ailments in the past 12 months looked for affordable prices before making their decision. This is much higher than the previous year's figure of 11 percent.

"It is encouraging that people are increasingly incorporating cost information into their decision-making process when determining which healthcare services they should seek and from which providers," said Dr. Raymond Fabius, chief medical officer at the healthcare business of Thomson Reuters.

When looking at the group of American patients who looked for information on healthcare providers, 70 percent said that it influenced their decision, the poll revealed. Another 49 percent said that they received the information from their current insurer, which was 26 percent higher than the previous year's figures. In total, 50 percent said they got the information from their doctors.

However, the percentage of those who found health insurance quotes on the internet was on the rise, according to the poll. In all, 45 percent of those searching for information did this, which was much higher than the previous year's figure of 22 percent. Nearly 90 percent of those who tried this said it was an accurate depiction of the total costs.

"As more pricing information becomes widely available, along with quality comparisons, and more providers and health plans share their data transparently, we will see the emergence of a healthcare system that is more competitive and ultimately more sustainable," Fabius added.

Consumers going out of their way to take charge and find health insurance quotes online may give themselves an opportunity to find the best rates. This is because there are many options available, and comparing the options can make the process easier.

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