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

 
 
 

30 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

1 day 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 sla ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

2 days 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" hits hom ...
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

Modi discusses sickle cell disease in Japan
Kyoto, Aug 31 (IANS) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday discussed cooperation with Japan to combat sickle cell anaemia, officials said.
 
 
Modi, Abe strike chord; Kyoto to help make Varanasi smart city (Intro Roundup)
Kyoto, Aug 30 (IANS) Warmth, mutual admiration and convergent views marked the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe Saturday as India hoped the two sides would strive to achieve in five years the unrealised potential of the past five decades.
 
 
Modi, Abe strike chord, India hopes ties reach full potential (Roundup)
Kyoto, Aug 30 (IANS) Warmth, mutual admiration and convergence of views marked the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe Saturday as India hoped the two sides would strive to achieve in five years the unrealised potential of five decades.
 
 
Modi in Japan: Kyoto-Varanasi partnership pact inked
Kyoto, Aug 30 (IANS) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi began a five-day visit to Japan Saturday, a day that saw the inking of a partnership agreement between Varanasi, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, and Kyoto, which was the capital of Japan for over 1,000 years.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

UN soldiers escape Syrian rebels
Damascus, Aug 31 (IANS) A group of 40 Filipino UN soldiers abducted by Islamist militants in Syria's Golan Heights escaped Sunday. Syrian rebels Saturday had surrounded two groups of Filipino soldiers working for a UN...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Modi regretting axing talks with Pakistan?
Islamabad, Aug 31 (IANS) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi appears to be having second thoughts on his decision to cancel foreign secretary level talks with Pakistan, a newspaper said Sunday. "Surprised by the...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
US sanctions not to hit n-talks: Iran
Tehran, Aug 31 (IANS) The new US sanctions against some Iranian entities will not hit negotiations over Tehran's nuclear programme, President Hassan Rouhani has said. The US Friday imposed sanctions on a number of...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Modi visits Buddhist temples in Kyoto
Kyoto, Aug 31 (IANS) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited two prominent Buddhist temples here Sunday on the first full day of a five-day visit to Japan that will later him to Tokyo. Modi first went to the Toji...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Modi discusses sickle cell disease in Japan
Kyoto, Aug 31 (IANS) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday discussed cooperation with Japan to combat sickle cell anaemia, officials said. An external affairs ministry spokesman said Modi discussed treatment of...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Modi visits Toji temple in Kyoto
Kyoto, Aug 31 (IANS) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Toji Buddhist temple here Saturday. External affairs ministry officials said Modi went around the eighth century temple in the company of the chief...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Top Saudi cleric warns against 'deceitful' jihad
Riyadh, Aug 31 (IANS) Saudi Arabia's top cleric Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-AsShaikh has given a call to Muslim youth against following "deceitful" claims of jihad by shadowy groups with deviant principles. Grand Mufti Sheikh...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
English Premier League standings
London, Aug 31 (IANS) Following are the English Premier League standings after Saturday's matches (tabulated under games played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points), according to Xinhua. Chelsea...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Taliban killed 11 people in Afghanistan
Kabul, Aug 31 (IANS) Taliban militants killed at least 11 civilians in Farah province of Afghanistan early Saturday, officials said. Jawid Afghan, a provincial governor spokeman, said the victims were on their way to...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Lily Allen pens 'good' songs when unhappy
Los Angeles, Aug 31 (IANS) Singer Lily Allen believes she writes her songs well when she is not in the best of her moods. The 29-year-old took a break from the industry in 2009, when she married painter and decorator...
Read more on Celebrity Balla