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HealthSparq's First Health Care Shopping Trends Report Explores the People Behind the Data

Comprehensive report reveals in-depth look at how people shopped for health care in 2015

PORTLAND, Ore –June 21, 2016 – HealthSparq, a company dedicated to empowering people to comparison shop for their health care, today released a first-of-its-kind 2015 Health Care Shopping Trends Report that explores what matters most to health care shoppers.

The report used data from 237,000 people who pulled 523,000 cost estimates using HealthSparq’s cost estimator tools in 2015. Those people are members of 70 health plans of varying sizes across the U.S. HealthSparq is sharing this report with the entire health care industry to foster a better understanding of what people need to make better, more informed decisions about their care.

Among many findings within the report, the research found that 62 percent of health care shoppers are women, and 53 percent of shoppers are between ages 25-44. Imaging & Radiology and Labor & Delivery were the two most shopped-for categories among those HealthSparq users, no matter the region, age or season.

Big findings from HealthSparq’s 2015 Health Care Shopping Trends Report also included:

  • Shopping behaviors and needs vary, often significantly, depending on what age group, season and region of the country a person belongs to.
  • People are searching for both day-to-day health care services like Immunizations and Chiropractic treatments, as well as big medical events such as giving birth. They’re also shopping most for the health care procedures that are most expensive, such as Labor & Delivery and Heart Disease & Circulation Conditions.
  • Some report data tracked closely with health trends confirmed by the CDC. For example, colon health-related searches are two times higher in the West, where the CDC reports the lowest rate of colorectal cancer.

As a whole, the health care cost transparency industry sees low adoption of price comparison tools, even as the national media has shone a bright light on the wild cost disparities — and the confusing world — of health care. HealthSparq created this report to better understand how to increase adoption industry-wide, and provide smarter tools for its own customers. According to the company, each individual using HealthSparq’s cost estimator tools could save an average of $525 per year. By examining the health care shopping trends of these 237,000 people, HealthSparq sees a great opportunity to improve their tools in a way that can better serve those who are already using them.

“While others in the health care transparency market are focused on cost disparities, we wanted to focus on better understanding who is currently comparison shopping for their care, and how we can better serve them,” said Torben Nielsen, senior vice president of product at HealthSparq. “We are determined to use the data from this report to increase health care shopping tool adoption through education efforts, and create tools that health plan members actually want to use. Our focus has been firmly placed on the people and their behaviors, and we are confident that these insights will help us — and others in the industry — connect with those people on an even deeper level.”

HealthSparq is committed to continuing this research so it can work with health plans to increase comparison shopping adoption, and help people save money in the process. In addition to its flagship health care shopping tool, the findings will inform the company’s health plan, provider and consumer-facing products, and thus help people have an easier time navigating the complex health care system.

Find HealthSparq’s 2015 Health Care Shopping Trends Report online here.