Spectrum study looks at Americans' understanding of value in healthcare

WASHINGTON: More than 30% of consumers in the US do not believe that they pay for their healthcare services, indicating confusion about the current healthcare system, says a new study from Spectrum.

WASHINGTON: More than 30% of consumers in the US do not believe that they pay for their healthcare services, indicating confusion about the current healthcare system, says a new study from Spectrum.

The Washington-based health firm conducted the Health Value Study to look at how consumers view value in terms of access, prevention and wellness, chronic illness, and healthcare reform.

“Part of the problem is that Americans have no sense of the cost of healthcare, in a personal sense,” said John Seng, president and CEO of Spectrum. “Without having that denominator of cost, how can we have a sense of value?”

Only 69% of respondents believe that individuals pay for healthcare, through insurance payments, income and sales taxes, employer deductions, out-of-pocket expenses, and co-pays.

“A full 30% of people did not agree that they are paying,” noted Seng. “The intriguing piece here is: who is paying? I wonder who those people think is paying. I think there's confusion that, somehow, the government pays and the money just falls out of the sky.”

The study also compared the opinions of consumers based on 27 healthcare products, programs, and services.

The services that are most valued are physician services, medical services at a hospital, emergency care services, and prescription drugs, while the least valued services include wellness services, family and social health services, care for the elderly, and pharmaceutical research.

The mean age of the insured respondents was 47.5 years old; the mean age of the uninsured respondents was 41.6 years old. There were 2,025 total respondents for the study.

Spectrum plans to update the findings each quarter, which will be posted online. The firm recently implemented a rebranding as it prepares for changes in health policy.

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