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Study: Americans Hungry for Healthcare Pricing Data

June 18, 2015
by Gabriel Perna
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Consumers want more healthcare pricing data to help them make more informed choices, according to the findings of a recent study.
The study, from the nonprofit research organization, Public Agenda and supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), revealed that 56 percent of Americans have sought out information on healthcare pricing, and 21 percent have compared providers. Among those who have never done it, 57 percent say they are interested in finding out this information and 43 percent would choose a less expensive doctor if they knew the prices. Of the 21 percent who compared prices among providers, 62 percent said it saved them money.
"Overall, these findings signal many people are considering price when they choose providers and may be receptive to efforts that enable them to do so more effectively," Will Friedman, president of Public Agenda, said in a statement. "Still, shopping around for better health care prices is not viable in all situations and encouraging people to do so must be part of a larger effort to reduce the prices and costs of health care in the U.S." 
The survey, of 2,010 adults, found that Americans do not equate lower quality of care to lower prices. Rather, 71 percent said that higher prices is not indicative of better care and 63 percent said lower prices doesn't mean worse care. The survey results indicated that those looking for this information were likely to be people with higher deductibles, women, and people with a college degree. 
Recent efforts to release pricing data have garnered attention. A recent study from Johns Hopkins using Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) data revealed the top 50 hospitals with the highest cost-to-charge rations. One hospital was found to be charging for services up to 12.6 percent times higher than the Medicare-allowable cost. 

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