Few people use concrete information about doctors or hospitals to obtain better care at lower prices, according to a poll released Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The 2010 health law aimed to make prices for the health care industry more transparent. People shopping for insurance can now compare the prices of competing plans through online marketplaces, including premiums, deductibles and their share of any medical expenses via the federal government quality ratings Websites, large private insurer Websites and provider rating reports by private groups such as Consumer Reports and U.S. News & World Report. But the poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that about two of three people say it is still difficult to know how much specific doctors or hospitals charge for medical treatments or procedures. Only about one in five people said they had seen specific cost or quality information about a hospital, insurer or doctor. The poll found that this information rarely makes a difference. About 6 percent of people ever used quality information in making a decision regarding an insurer, hospital or doctor. And fewer than 9 percent used information about prices, most commonly in relation to health plans. Only 3 percent said they used price information about physicians, the poll found. This lack of practical information may be related to another major finding from the poll: people are overconfident about their ability to pay medical bills without financial strain.
Kaiser Family Foundation Poll Finds Few Consumers Are Using Quality, Price Information To Make Health Decisions
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