78% of Seniors Surveyed Who Try To Estimate Out-Of-Pocket Medical Costs In Advance Do It With Accuracy At Least “Sometimes

SAN MATEO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- A survey of 377 seniors 65 and older showed that 41%1 try to estimate in advance their out-of-pocket costs for medical appointments, services and treatments and of those who try, 78% get it right at least “sometimes” with more than one third getting it right “most of the time.” Still, slightly less than half of respondents said they specifically ask about the prices of medical services in advance and just 13% have ever tried to negotiate the price of a medical service with a provider.

The survey was fielded from April 12-19, 2011 by Extend Health, Inc., which operates the nation’s largest private Medicare exchange.

Said Bryce Williams, CEO of Extend Health, “From a consumer perspective, health care is different from almost any other market in that providers of medical services do not typically provide prices prior to delivering their services. In addition, insurance companies – not consumers – usually negotiate prices and pay directly for medical services. This lack of transparency makes it difficult for consumers who want or need to know what things will cost in advance so they can prepare themselves financially.

“This survey shows that despite the challenges, a large number of seniors who try to estimate their medical costs are successful,” added Williams. “Imagine what a difference it would make if the health care industry purposefully activated the real driver in cost control – the empowered consumer.”

The questions and detailed results from the survey are as follows:

Do you ever try to estimate your out-of-pocket medical expenses (anything not covered by your health insurance) in advance of a medical appointment, service, treatment or hospital stay?

Yes       41.3%
No 58.7%

If you answered, "yes" to the previous question, how frequently are you able to accurately estimate in advance your out-of-pocket medical expenses for a given medical appointment, service, treatment or hospital stay?

Always       1.8%
Most of the time 37.3%
Sometimes 39.1%
Rarely 15.4%
Never 6.5%

How often do you ask a health care provider (for example, a physician, hospital, physical therapist, laboratory) how much a medical service will cost ahead of time?

Always       5.7%
Most of the time 18.9%
Sometimes 27.2%
Rarely 30.7%
Never 17.5%

Have you ever tried to negotiate a price for a medical service with the service provider?

Yes       12.5%
No 87.5%

Extend Health is the only company that has helped more than 350,000 seniors use an exchange to compare and choose the private Medicare plans that best meets their needs and budgets. The Extend Health exchange is the only place seniors can compare more than 3,500 plans from 73 carriers side by side and find a plan that best meets their needs. Licensed benefit advisors are available to help seniors evaluate their Medicare coverage and explore new options quickly and easily.

About Extend Health

Extend Health, Inc., founded in 2004, operates the largest private Medicare exchange in the country. For more information, visit Extend Health on the web at http://www.extendhealth.com.

1 For top line reporting purposes, Extend Health, Inc. rounds percentages up or down as appropriate.


For Extend Health, Inc.
Rob Wyse, 212-920-1470
[email protected]

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  California

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Seniors  Health  Hospitals  Other Health  Professional Services  Human Resources  Insurance  Consumer  General Health