360° Coverage : Americans' Disconnect Over Health Costs

2 Updates

Americans' Disconnect Over Health Costs

Jan 28 2014, 11:38am CST | by

By Wendy Lynch, Ph.D. and Kristen Perosino, Next Avenue Contributors/> Nine out of 10 Americans over 50 agree: Health care in the United States is too expensive. But they aren’t sure what they...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

37 weeks ago

Americans' Disconnect Over Health Costs

Jan 28 2014, 11:38am CST | by


By Wendy Lynch, Ph.D. and Kristen Perosino, Next Avenue Contributors/>

Nine out of 10 Americans over 50 agree: Health care in the United States is too expensive. But they aren’t sure what they can do about it.

Those are among the findings in our newly-released Altarum Institute Survey of Consumer Health Care Opinions, the fifth in a series. (Altarum Institute is a nonprofit health systems research and consulting group.) The survey of 1,974 Americans age 25 to 64 was conducted online in October 2013.

(MORE5 Ways to Make Your Doctor Your Partner)

Health Costs Take a Toll

With the average cost of employer-sponsored health insurance up dramatically — from roughly $9,000 in 2003 to $16,000 in 2013 — the high price of medical care is taking a toll on many households. Our survey found that almost two in three consumers are concerned about their ability to pay medical bills if they experience a serious health problem.

This financial vulnerability is likely to carry over into retirement, according to respondents. When asked whether they’d have $220,000 saved for medical expenses after they retire, as recommended by some experts, only 16% said yes (65% said no and 18% weren’t sure).

(MOREA Health Economist Confronts His Family’s Medical Costs)

People approaching retirement — those age 45 to 64 — were less confident about their ability to cover medical expenses than their younger counterparts; most of the pre-retirees said they would definitely not have $220,000 set aside for health costs in retirement.

Few Trying to Get Top Value

Are high medical charges driving patients to ask for cost estimates, compare doctors and health services and try to get the greatest value in health care? Not so much — especially older patients.

Fewer than a third of those between age 45 and 64 said they looked for information about cost or quality before visiting a health care provider in the past year, for example. And just 23% of people 55 or older looked for healthcare quality ratings; by contrast, roughly half (51%) of those 25 to 34 did.

(MORE5 Ways to Avoid High Retirement Health Costs)

Slightly less than half of consumers have ever asked about the cost of treatment before going to the doctor. And those over 55 were the least likely to do so.

Dangerous Health Mistakes

Sadly, excessive health costs may be causing some people to avoid going to the doctor or the drugstore in the first place. Three out of five survey respondents said they sometimes choose to forgo healthcare because of the price. But skipping medications, delaying medical appointments and missing preventative screenings can have serious long-term implications.

Why aren’t many patients shopping for lower-cost care? In general, they’re not convinced it would make a difference. Only 6 percent said they felt very confident that they could take steps to find less expensive care./>/>

That said, consumers — especially older ones— said they want a place at the table when it comes to decisions about their health.

Almost 90 percent of respondents age 55 or older noted that they prefer to take an active role in making choices regarding their health. They want to be given treatment options by physicians, for instance, and then play a part in deciding among those options.

A Shift in Attitude

This view actually represents a shift. In the past, patients typically preferred to leave most of the decision-making power in the hands of their doctors.

So there’s an underlying gap between what people say they want and what they actually do.

Because Americans aren’t accustomed to acting as healthcare consumers and information about medical fees and quality has been hard to find, it may take time for the public’s actions to match their preferences.

How the Tide is Turning

But the tide is turning, which is a positive sign.

Four out of five respondents said they’d feel comfortable talking with their doctors about the cost of their medical treatment. And half believe that they may be able to make their healthcare more affordable by asking for, and comparing, prices.

One of the biggest challenges in the evolving healthcare environment is helping people take the next step. Hopefully, they’ll increasingly see that they have more power than they realize — if they ask the right questions.

Wendy Lynch, Ph.D. is Director of Altarum Institute’s Center for Consumer Choice in Health Care, runs Lynch Consulting and is senior scientist at the Health as Human Capital Foundation. Kristen Perosino is manager of advocacy partnerships at Altarum Institute.

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new company (NewCo) and slashing the work ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

7 weeks ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double tragedies of MH370 and MH17" ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Favouring sex specific traits an urban habit
London, Oct 21 (IANS) If you are searching for a more masculine man for dating, remember that this is not what your ancestors looked for.
 
 
EyeCane enables the blind to 'hear' obstacle distance
London, Oct 21 (IANS) The low-tech White Canes widely used by the visually impaired may soon become a thing of the past as researchers have now developed an electronic travel aid that enables the blind to hear and feel distance information from different directions.
 
 
Could scientists create life?
London, Oct 21 (IANS) In a virtual computer experiment, researchers from the University of Southern Denmark have discovered information strings with peculiar properties that can reveal how the life originated on the Earth.
 
 
Fresh cow's milk shields babies from infections
London, Oct 21 (IANS) One reason why children today seem to catch infections more easily may well be the increasing scarcity of fresh cow's milk, researchers have found.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

1,074 new dengue cases in Chinese province
Beijing, Oct 18 (IANS) China's Guangdong province has reported 1,047 new cases of dengue fever, health authorities said Saturday. Six people have already died in Guangdong -- five in Guangzhou and one in adjacent...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Blake Lively 'always' wanted to be mum
Blake Lively has ''always'' wanted to be a mother. The 27-year-old actress is expecting her first child with husband Ryan Reynolds and she admits she's been dreaming of this moment since she was a youngster. Speaking...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Kris Jenner 'torn apart' by Bruce's new relationship
Kris Jenner feels ''torn apart and angry'' that Bruce Jenner is dating her former assistant. The 58-year-old matriarch split from the 64-year-old Olympic gold medalist last October following 22-years of marriage but is...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini won't move to France
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini doesn't want to move to her husband's home country of France. The 'X Factor' judge, 31, who comes from Newcastle, is adamant she won't be relocating any time soon to suit her new spouse Jean-...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Lance Bass sets wedding date
Lance Bass has set a date for his wedding. The former *NSYNC singer and his partner Michael Turchin, who have been dating for two-and-a-half years, are to tie the knot on December 20, 2014, a representative for the...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Nepal avalanche toll reaches 39
Kathmandu, Oct 18 (IANS) At least 39 climbers died while hiking on a key Nepali route after it was hit by a major snowstorm and avalanches earlier this week, BBC reported Saturday citing officials. Over 350 stranded...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Jake Gyllenhaal says society is complicit in 'nightcrawling'
Jake Gyllenhaal says almost everybody in society ought to relate to his new movie 'Nightcrawlers'. The eagerly-awaited film concerns those people who monitor police scanners and then race to crime scenes to film eye-...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
India eves look for first win in AFC U-16 qualifiers
Dhaka, Oct 18 (IANS) India will hope to register their first win of the 2015 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-16 Women's Championship qualifiers when they take on hosts Bangladesh in a crucial encounter at the...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Moyes mulling return to management
London, Oct 18 (IANS) Former Manchester United manager David Moyes said that he is ready to revive his managerial career six months after being sacked by the 'Red Devils'. "I am ready to return. I have enjoyed the...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Ebola fears loom over Ghana hosting AFCON
Accra (Ghana), Oct 18 (IANS) The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) cautioned the government Saturday against hosting the 2015 African Cup of Nations (AFCON), despite a request by the Confederation of African Football (...
Read more on Sport Balla