Survey: Nearly half of patients find it difficult to get upfront cost information

Healthcare providers could potentially boost patient satisfaction by providing upfront cost costs, yet 43 percent of patients find it somewhat or very difficult to get this information, according to a new survey from TransUnion Healthcare. Another 21 percent never tried to obtain procedure cost information.

The survey was based on a poll of 2,058 consumers at the end of last November who had health insurance, managed their own healthcare decisions and had received healthcare services in the last year.

"Patients are increasingly evaluating their care experience on whether they received estimates or billing information. Hospitals and healthcare providers have an opportunity to improve patient satisfaction and increase transparency by delivering out-of-pocket cost information before a procedure," Gerry McCarthy, president of TransUnion Healthcare, said in a news release. "Patients may be more apt to pay their bill in full, leading to increased point-of-service collections and less payment challenges for healthcare providers. Healthcare providers can also screen patients' eligibility for charity care, financial aid or payment plans to provide a better patient payment experience."

In fact, the survey found that three in four patients (74.7 percent) said receiving upfront cost estimates would positively impact their view of a healthcare provider.

TransUnion also asked patients about potential healthcare changes as a result of the presidential election. The company said six in 10 patients feared health insurance plans offered through the ACA would be disrupted in 2017 or 2018. Additionally, approximately 27 percent of patients believe President Donald Trump's administration will help to simplify healthcare, while another 43 percent believe the new president's administration will make healthcare more expensive and complex.



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