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Show Me The Money

Giving patients the price transparency they want promotes responsible consumer healthcare planning, builds trust and loyalty, and helps providers avoid financial headaches in the long run.

It’s no secret that healthcare consumers would like pricing information from providers in advance of care: 91 percent of patients say it is important to know their out-of-pocket costs up front, according to a recent Accenture survey1, and 47 percent would even consider switching providers to understand their costs at the time of scheduling2.

Why they want to know may be more surprising, however. According to surveyed consumers, offering price transparency up front does not change most patients’ buying behaviors. Nearly half (46 percent) say they require the information for budget planning purposes, but it does not affect where or when they receive services. Only 11 percent use it to shop around3 (Figure 1).

Survey results show that consumer attitudes towards healthcare price transparency are consistent across several factors, including employment status, insurance coverage type and cost sharing level.

Many providers still do not offer the transparency healthcare consumers seek. About half (49 percent) of consumers surveyed said they knew their estimated out-of-pocket costs prior to seeing a medical professional, but only about a quarter were informed by their providers4. For the rest, the burden was on the patient to seek out the information on their own, potentially impacting the accuracy of cost estimates obtained, as well as preventing the provider from having financial education and payment discussions with the patient.

Providing cost information up front and offering healthcare consumers financial education and support could be critical market differentiators for providers.

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