Most health systems don't offer upfront cost information to patients, survey finds

Although cost influences patient decisions about where to receive care, 57 percent of health systems did not offer this information before a procedure or treatment in a study conducted by patient financial engagement company VisitPay.

For the study, VisitPay conducted an online national survey of 1,734 adults ages 18 and older to assess their healthcare consumption habits and financial behaviors. Each respondent or an immediate family member had received treatment at a hospital, health system or urgent care center in the last year.

Five other survey findings:

1. Respondents rated insurance coverage (84 percent) as the most important factor in choosing where to receive treatment, followed by reputation of the health system (75 percent). 

2. Sixty-five percent of respondents reported that cost of care strongly influences their overall satisfaction with a physician or health system.

3. Forty-one percent of respondents reported that rising healthcare costs would influence their ability or interest in seeking care.

4. Thirty-nine percent of respondents prefer reading about their payments options on a statement; 33 percent want their physicians to tell them their payment options at the time of their appointment; and 32 percent said they want a brochure with treatment and bill payment information.

5, Thirty-four percent of respondents said they prefer to pay medical bills online through a health system; 33 percent prefer to pay them online through their bank; and 32 percent said they prefer to pay by mail.

From the survey findings, VisitPay developed five patient segments based on consumption habits, communication preferences and behavioral tendencies. They are solo strivers (predominately lower-income, racially diverse females, most with children, under the age of 40); seasoned and receptive (mostly married and retired); overextended achievers (includes full-time workers between the ages of 40 and 64); hearty and carefree (mostly low-income, single females under the age of 39); and self-sufficient sages (segment with highest percent of individuals 65 and older, who are covered by Medicare or low-deductible plans).

Access the full VisitPay study here.


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