Consumers more confident about paying healthcare bills

The economic recovery gradually taking hold in the U.S. is spreading to patients' ability to pay for their own care, Reuters reports. The latest Thomson Reuters Consumer Healthcare Sentiment Index indicates that Americans were growing more confident about their ability to pay for healthcare over the next three months. This is a departure from the prior three months, when many reported greater difficulty handling their medical bills.

The index surveys about 3,000 people nationwide regarding their ability to pay their medical bills. The January survey indicated a score of 99, up from the all-time low of 96 in December 2010.

"There seems to be a return to perhaps cautious optimism about the next three months," said Julie Shook, product director for the Healthcare & Science business at Thomson Reuters. "They are predicting a significant improvement in their ability to pay for and access healthcare services."

The overall composite score--which included both prospective and retrospective sentiments of those polled--was 98, up one point from December 2010 and two points from November 2010. And the overall score over the past three months still indicated large numbers of those surveyed had put off filling or refilling subscriptions.

For more:
- read the Reuters article
- read the survey