Study Says Better Online Transparency Tools, Apps Could Ease Fear of Lower-Cost Healthcare

You get what you pay for: That old saw applies to most corners of American consumerism, but not to healthcare. Convincing people of that is tough.

You get what you pay for: That old saw applies to most corners of American consumerism, but not to healthcare. Convincing people of that is tough.

The research shows that most Americans believe more-expensive healthcare is usually better—an assumption that has become one major driver of unnecessary costs plaguing the U.S. healthcare system. And researchers say it will take more than just high out-of-pocket costs borne by consumers to change their views.

“People are afraid of the low-cost option because they are afraid of substandard care,” said Judith Hibbard, a senior researcher at the University of Oregon and renowned scholar on consumerism in healthcare, whose comments Tuesday came during a presentation in Chicago at the Operations and Technology Forum held by America's Health Insurance Plans.

The trick to alleviating the fear of lower-cost healthcare is to show Americans the cost of their care alongside the relevant quality rankings for potential providers they could visit. And many of the existing healthcare transparency tools could stand to improve in this regard, according to a study out Wednesday from Catalyst for Payment Reform, a not-for-profit organization that works on behalf of large employers and other healthcare purchasers.

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Source: Modern Healthcare