New Research: As Election Day Nears, Americans Say Health Care System is Unacceptable

Heading into next week’s election, one of the top issues voters report being most concerned about is health care. In an overall effort to continue better understanding our users and their needs, we, in conjunction with our partner Hanover Research, recently surveyed almost 1,000 health care consumers from across the U.S. about their outlook on the health care system. The results underscore some frustration, confusion and fear Americans are feeling around health care. Let’s take a look at what the consumers said in our survey.

HealthSparq survey findings:

  • Consumers are not optimistic about health care in America. A whopping 60% of consumers reported that they believe the U.S. health care system is unacceptable. Half (49%) of respondents believe the health care system is worse today than it was five years ago. And, unfortunately, 47% believe it will get worse in the next five years. Ouch.
  • Rising health care costs are causing concern. Not a huge surprise, but costs are driving a lot of anxiety when it comes to health care in America. Almost two-thirds (62%) of survey respondents are concerned about rising health care costs. Partially, this is based on another belief held by 68% of respondents: that fewer people will have health insurance now that it is not required by law. So if fewer people buy insurance, insurers may raise their rate.
  • Even so, consumers like having robust health care coverage. Even though rising health care costs are a concern, consumers want quality health insurance that covers most of their medical needs and feel their insurance provides it. The good news is that most consumers (76%) believe that their current health plan provides appropriate coverage for themselves and (71%) their family, and more than half of people (53%) believe that prescription drugs and in-patient hospital stays should be covered by their health insurance.

So, what can you do about it?

One way to take more control of your health care is to seek out information using the digital tools available through your health plan or provider. Make sure you understand where to find information about in versus out-of-network providers, benefit details and estimated costs for your medical services.  Many health plans use HealthSparq’s technology to provide accurate out-of-pocket cost estimates to people so they can plan for medical expenses. The information covers single appointments as well as surgeries and recovery, and even provides guidance to find the optimal venue of care for different health events.

Unfortunately, many people could do more when it comes to managing their health care and their medical spend, but they don’t always choose to take action. Here’s the breakdown of some related findings:

  • Nearly half of consumers (47%) do not do research before their medical visits.
  • Among those who received unexpected medical bills more than 12 months ago nearly half (47%) report that they do not currently do anything differently than they did before they received the unexpected bill.
  • Out of those who have received unexpected medical bills, 40% say that they could have taken actions to better understand their health care processes.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Individuals taking action to learn more about their health care options and becoming more empowered consumers of health care is not going to fix our broken system. It can, however, make each of our unique experiences better. So get informed, do research, ask questions, and yes, shop around.

Get out and vote!

Help shape the future and make sure your voice is heard on the issues and candidates you’re passionate about – including health care. Don’t forget the election is coming up Tuesday, November 6!