Consumer Response to Increased Costs

Employee Benefit Research Institute and research firm Mathew Greenwald & Associates recently released some data from a survey of 1,000 people which was interesting:

  • 63% said they saw an increase in their health plan’s out-of-pocket costs (I am surprised it’s not more.)
  • 81% said the increased financial responsibility motivated them to take better care of themselves (good)
  • 2/3 said they tried to talk to their MD more carefully about treatment options and costs (I wonder if the doctors knew the comparative costs)
  • 64% (a 10% jump) said they were only going to the doctor for more serious conditions or symptoms
  • 28% skipped or passes on filling doses of prescribed medications (this could be a problem)

Perhaps the most worrisome fact was that 30% said that the rising costs made it difficult to afford food, heat, and housing and another 30% said it caused them to reduce retirement contributions.

People were positive about wellness programs, but that went down if the program was prompting them for care (but they would do that if it gave them a break in premiums).

47% of Americans say that the healthcare system needs major changes although almost 1 in 4 say only minor changes are needed (probably the healthy people that never use the system).

Here is a good cartoon.  There are lots at this site.

hc-cost-cartoon.jpg

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