Skip to main content

Most Patients Do Not Research Pricing Options

Analysis  |  By Jay Asser  
   October 13, 2022

A new survey finds a majority of Americans would shop around for the best price if pricing data was available.

Despite recent implementations of price transparency rules and regulations, most patients are still in the dark when it comes to finding pricing information, according to a survey by YouGov.

Commissioned by revenue cycle firm AKASA, the survey reveals that 64% of Americans have never tried looking for prices for healthcare services ahead of time.

Patients' lack of shopping around is not necessarily due to unwillingness though, as 58% of respondents indicated they would research their options for the best price if pricing information was disclosed beforehand.

Younger adults aged 18-34 were more likely to research prices (45%) for healthcare services compared to older adults aged 55-plus (27%). Meanwhile, patients with high-deductible health plans (41%) and individual plans (43%) are more willing to research prices versus other groups.

The responses, which were fielded from 2,026 individuals between March 9 and March 14, 2022, reveal a need for not only clearer price transparency, but more information and awareness about price transparency for patients.

"There's clearly a gap between what many healthcare organizations - providers and insurance companies - think helps increase price transparency and the experience of patients in finding price information conveniently and in a manner that is easy to understand," Amy Raymond, VP of revenue cycle operations at AKASA, said in a statement.


"This is a deterrent for patients in seeking out the best price like they would in any other industry, which can be incredibly frustrating."

The hospital price transparency rule went into effect on January 1, 2021, requiring facilities to post pricing information online through a comprehensive machine-readable file with all items and services they provide, as well as through a display of shoppable services in a consumer-friendly format.

On July 1 of this year, a price transparency rule for payers went into effect, requiring health insurers to post pricing information for covered items and services.

However, hospitals in particular have been slow to adhere to the law, as an August report found that just 16% of hospitals are complying with the rule.

New analysis, also conducted by PatientsRightsAdvocate.org, shows large hospital systems are still failing to disclose prices, based on newly released health insurance company data files.

Jay Asser is an associate editor for HealthLeaders.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

More than six in 10 (64%) surveyed patients have never sought out pricing for healthcare services.

More than half (58%) of respondents say they would shop around for the best price if pricing information was disclosed ahead of time.

The survey results indicate a greater need to improve price transparency, as well as education about pricing information.


Get the latest on healthcare leadership in your inbox.