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Consumer Attitudes on Health Care Costs

From the National Business Coalition on Health : New Robert Wood Johnson Foundation research shows many Americans don't understand why health care costs are increasing nor how the trend affects them on a daily basis. RWJF orchestrated a series of eight focus groups in four major U.S. cities: Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia and Charlotte, N.C. Four of the focus groups included people with employer-sponsored health insurance, two groups were comprised of people who were self-insured, one group was all Medicare beneficiaries and the final group was uninsured.

Here are some takeaways from the RWJF's findings:

Not surprisingly, patients defined "health care costs" as their out-of-pocket costs, which include premiums, deductibles, co-pays and other costs taken from their paychecks.

Participants in the focus groups said increasing health care costs were forcing them to cut back in other areas of their lives, such as taking fewer vacations or postponing a major purchase.

Many participants said they want to understand what their tests and procedures cost before they agree to them. They also believed higher costs for a procedure were tied to the location of a hospital or other facility.

There are important implications for employers from this research regarding the need to educate employees about health care costs, and that there is an appetite for more such information to be provided.  Work on public reporting of these types of data must be continued and improved.

Read more on focus group results.

Posted by Cristie Travis at 8:48 AM

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