CAHI Releases Poll Showing Health Care Consumers Want to Know Prices

U.S. Newswire
May 1, 2006

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Today, the Council for Affordable Health Insurance (CAHI) released a survey demonstrating that Americans are ready to become health care consumers, if given the tools to do so.

Polling firm Zogby International surveyed the public's attitude about the need for pricing disclosure in the health care system, and whether consumers would take advantage of that information.

The nationwide poll of 1,209 interviews asked: "Do you agree or disagree that hospitals, doctors, and pharmacies should publish their prices for all goods and services?" Fully 84 percent agreed, with only 14 percent disagreeing.

But making prices available would be of little use unless people were willing to include that information as one factor in their health care decision-making process.

So the survey also asked: "If you knew the prices a hospital, doctor, or pharmacy charges, how likely would you be to shop around for the best price?" According to the survey, a total of 79 percent said they would be likely to shop for the best price (51 percent "very likely" and 28 percent "somewhat likely").

"Americans are used to seeing prices on just about everything they buy --except health care," said Dr. Merrill Matthews, director of CAHI. "It's hard to see why health care should be any different."

In addition, the poll found: "Among those most likely to say they would shop around for the best price are Hispanics (89 percent), 20- to 34-year-olds (88 percent), and those earning between $25,000 and $35,000 a year (84 percent)."

"People want to know what something costs -- especially if they are paying for it themselves," continued Dr. Matthews. "We are transitioning to a consumer driven health care system where price, quality and value matter. Consumers know that and are adapting to the change. The only question now is when will health care providers get that message?"

For the full report from Zogby International, go to

Founded in 1992, CAHI is a non-profit research and advocacy association whose mission is to develop and promote free market solutions to America's health care challenges. CAHI's membership includes health insurance companies (active in the individual, small group, HSA and senior markets), small businesses, physicians, actuaries and insurance brokers.

Copyright © 2006 by U.S. Newswire, a division of Medialink Worldwide Inc.

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