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Consumers willing to pay more for quality healthcare, survey finds

Consumers willing to pay more for quality healthcare, survey finds
September 15, 2022 Rachel Tirabassi

By Jeff Lagasse for Healthcare Finance

Quality can go a long way in determining if a consumer is willing to pay more for their healthcare, as indicated by new survey responses published by revenue cycle company AKASA.

Out of more than 2,000 respondents, the survey found that 57% would pay more for a higher quality of care. Out of all categories in the survey, care quality was the only area in which a majority said they would be willing to pay more.

Forty-seven percent said they would pay more for the ability to work with the care team of their choice. Forty-one percent said they would pay more for the ability to work with hospitals of their choice, while the same percentage said they’d pony up more cash for better location proximity or convenience.

Meanwhile, 40% said they would open up their wallets for the ability to get an appointment quickly.

Respondents were also asked, “Assuming quality is equivalent across all care options, how far would you travel to get the best price for medical care?”

Most Americans are willing to travel some for a reasonable price in healthcare, but will not go to extraordinary lengths to access the best price: 82% of Americans prefer to stay within 50 miles when seeking out care at the best price.

Fifty-one percent would travel 10 to 20 miles, and 31% would travel 21 to 50 miles. After that, there’s a steep drop-off. Just 2% would travel 101 to 200 miles. Interestingly, slightly more people, 3%, would travel 201 to 400 miles.

WHAT’S THE IMPACT?

Amy Raymond, VP of revenue cycle operations at AKASA, said the findings can help healthcare leaders prioritize what to focus on when thinking about their bottom lines through the lens of what patients are willing to pay.

“Investing in improving the financial experience for patients and transforming revenue cycle operations can go a long way in building goodwill with patients to complement the outstanding quality of care they are willing to pay for,” said Raymond. “By leveraging automation, overhauling workflows and deploying staff to concentrate on more challenging assignments that require a human touch, the revenue cycle can match the level of service provided on the clinical side and create loyalty among patients.”

The survey fielded responses from 2,026 Americans between March 9 and 14.

THE LARGER TREND

Uncertainty about costs is still a pervasive issue among consumers. Almost half the respondents to a May survey, 44%, say they have avoided getting healthcare services because they were unsure of the costs. The findings show a steep increase from just one year ago, when 25% of patients reported skipping care.

Separately, more than two-thirds of consumers in the 2020 Change Healthcare–Harris Poll Consumer Experience Index, a national survey of 1,945 consumers conducted by the Harris Poll and commissioned by Change Healthcare, said every step of the healthcare process is a chore. Most said they don’t know how much a treatment or visit costs until months later, and nearly all said they want shopping for healthcare to be as easy as shopping for other common services, and they want it to be a fully connected digital experience.

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