Consumers reluctant to use outcomes, cost data

Apparently, Americans don't like having to do homework any more than they did when they were children. A study of 1,000 adults, which was commissioned by Destiny Health and conducted by Opinion Research Corporation, has found that despite our concerns about healthcare costs, most people are reluctant to research cost and quality data even if it's readily available. Health officials have made a lot of noise about increasing transparency in the healthcare system, though two recent Chicago Tribune articles argued that the transparency necessary for consumers to comparison shop simply isn't a reality.

If Opinion Research's findings are correct, consumers will need more than just easily accessible pricing information before they're ready to buy into CDHPs. "Today, with 97 percent of Americans covered by paternalistic forms of healthcare insurance, that motivation is missing," observed Barry Swartzberg, executive director of Destiny Health's sister company Discovery Health. "Members of those plans have little to gain from seeking lower prices or higher quality care that might be available outside their provider's network, so they have disengaged from the process and seem to be waiting for others to solve the healthcare cost crisis." The study's findings are in line with yesterday's Milwaukee Business Journal report: While about 20 percent of employers offer CDHPs, only about five to 10 percent of employees enroll in the programs. 

- see this press release about the study