New Research Shows More Americans Avoiding Healthcare Due to Uncertainty About Costs
HealthSparq Annual Consumer Survey Reveals Strong Support for Price Transparency Government Mandates
PORTLAND, Ore. – May 24, 2022 – HealthSparq, a leading healthcare transparency and guidance company, today announced findings from a survey of more than 1,000 people across the country exploring their behaviors and opinions on a number of healthcare topics. The findings, published in the 2022 Annual Consumer Sentiment Benchmark, revealed that 44% of respondents have avoided getting healthcare services because they were unsure of the costs. That number was a steep increase from just a year ago, when 25% reported skipping care.
The impact of healthcare costs was a key theme of the findings, including:
- Two-thirds of respondents reported being unaware of new government regulations requiring that health insurance plans must offer price transparency to their members. Despite this low awareness, 81% expressed support for the rule.
- Among those with a high-deductible health plan, 51% avoided care due to unknown costs.
“All respondents in our survey have health insurance, so seeing the rates of care avoidance due to uncertainty about costs is concerning and something health plans need to take note of,” said Mark Menton, General Manager of HealthSparq. “We can eliminate some of this uncertainty and delayed care by continuing to raise awareness about price transparency tools offered by health plans. Our tools give the clearest picture of a members’ expected out-of-pocket costs for healthcare services.”
Encouragingly, the survey found an increasing number of consumers reporting access to transparency tools. In the study, transparency tools were broadly defined as online tools from insurance companies where members can search for in-network providers (“Find a Doctor”), get cost estimates for procedures, learn about treatment options, and/or get guidance on insurance-covered options. With 70% of respondents indicating the availability of these tools at their health plan, the rate is at its highest point in the survey’s four-year history. Related findings include:
- Two-thirds of consumers who report having access to transparency tools have used them in the past year.
- The majority of consumers who have used transparency tools feel they help with understanding coverage (91%), making informed decisions (89%), and managing costs (81%).
- More than six in 10 wish their health plan offered more in-depth provider profile details and 71% would like to schedule appointments through their health plan website.
To download the full report, click here.
At HealthSparq, we help people make smarter healthcare choices by partnering with health plans to share cost and quality information about doctors, hospitals, medical services, and medications. Serving more than 90 million members across the country, we put people at the core of everything we do by conducting continuous usability testing, turning consumer research into product innovations, hosting industry panels featuring everyday people, and bringing human stories to the forefront through our #WTFix campaign. Using these insights, we create solutions to help people understand and navigate the healthcare system better than ever before.
Born inside a health plan in Portland, OR, we’ve been growing since our 2012 corporate founding. In 2021, we became part of Kyruus, the leader in provider search and scheduling solutions for health systems, to pursue a shared vision of connecting people to the right care. Contact us at HealthSparq.com or tweet us @HealthSparq.