research cost than quality; this is significantly higher than insured
-- The breakpoint for health care comparison shopping is higher than for
consumer goods. The median price at which people shop for health care
is $500, but only $199 for durable consumer goods.
Additionally, about one-third of all respondents said they would be "very likely" to compare prices of medical services. Further analysis and research is needed, Harris said, but initial indications are that a substantial portion of people could be shifted toward more consumer-minded health care behavior.
Quality and effectiveness of medical care are of increasing concern to patients. Some experts estimate that erroneous or unwarranted medical intervention is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., taking anywhere from 105,000 to 275,000 lives a year.
A dose of consumerism is promoted by many as an ingredient to remedy the ailing health care system. If people could compare which treatments work better and what they cost, the theory goes, providers would feel pressure to compete on successful outcomes, prices and their own formula for customer service. Currently, regional and national efforts to corral quality and cost information are scarce and scattered.
"It's the Wild West out there for quality information, but hopefully this new insight that we have gained into consumer preferences will help us to move the dial in the right direction," Harris said.
Regence the largest health insurer in the Northwest/Intermountain
Region, serving nearly three million members as Regence BlueShield of
Idaho, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, Regence BlueCross BlueShield
of Utah and Regence BlueShield (in Washington). Each plan is a
not-for-profit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Association. Regence is committed to improving the health of our members
and our com
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