4 Barriers to Patients' Consideration of Healthcare Costs

Although patients' consideration of healthcare costs can help drive lower costs, patients are generally hesitant to do so, according to a study in Health Affairs.

Researchers spoke with 22 focus groups totaling 211 people with insurance about weighing costs when discussing clinically comparable healthcare options with providers. The authors identified the following four barriers to patients' considering costs:

1. Preference for what patients perceive as the best care, regardless of expense.
2. Inexperience with making trade-offs between health and money.
3. Lack of interest in costs borne by insurers and society as a whole.
4. Noncooperative behavior characteristic of a "commons dilemma," in which people act in their own self-interest although they recognize that by doing so, they are depleting limited resources.

The authors concluded that new research in patient education, initiatives to change public attitudes about healthcare costs and training to encourage clinicians to discuss costs with patients will be necessary to promote patients' weighing costs in their healthcare decisions.

More Articles on Patient Engagement:

5 Challenges of Engaging Patients
6 Lessons on Engaging Patients From Aligning Forces for Quality

6 Health System Competencies for Shared Decision-Making

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