Women, young adults, and those who have seen higher premiums or cost sharing are more likely to research information regarding health care costs, quality and access in an effort to make informed decisions, according to a new survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.
The EBRI/MGA 2010 Health Confidence Survey examined a variety of health care issues, including Americans' satisfaction with health care, confidence in the health care system's future and the Medicare program, and attitudes toward health care reform.
Based on the research, 45 percent of respondents reported having tried to find health information about the advantages and disadvantages of different treatments, but only 14 percent attempted to find information about the number of disciplinary actions taken against a doctor or hospital.
"As companies shift health care costs to the individual, people are looking for ways to improve their quality of care while controlling costs," says Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI's Health Research and Education Program and author of the report. "And they are researching information that will benefit them and help them make educated choices."
The report also found people under age 45 were more likely than those 65 or older to research information about the advantages and disadvantages of treatment options, the complete costs of treatments, the costs of various doctors and hospitals and the number of disciplinary actions taken against a doctor or hospital. Minorities and the lower-income population are also more likely to search for cost information.
For individuals who believe they have fair or poor health, they were more likely to investigate the number and success rate of procedures performed at a hospital, according to the survey. Of those who said their health status had worsened during the past five years, 52 percent tried to find information about the advantages and disadvantages of different treatments.
The survey also found the uninsured and those who are dissatisfied with their health plan were more likely to research treatment and program costs.