Poll: Health Consumers Know Cost of Coverage

March 9, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Majorities of health consumers say they know what their health care premiums, doctor visits, prescription drugs and deductibles cost while far fewer say they don't, according to the results of a new poll.

In the Harris Interactive poll conducted for The Wall Street Journal Online’s Health Industry Edition, people who say they “know exactly” how much they pay for their health insurance premiums include those who purchase their own health insurance (61%), have employer-provided insurance (45%), or are insured through Medicare (56%). Twelve percent of all insured adults say they don’t have a clue about their premium expenses.

Likewise, a large number of respondents knew exactly how much a doctor’s visit cost them, including those with employer provided (60%), individually purchased (72%), and Medicare coverage (52%), the survey indicated. The numbers were similar when respondents were asked how much they had to fork over for prescription drugs.

Overall, few found paying for health care difficult, except for those on Medicare whose percentages were higher than for other groups. For example, only 5% of those getting their health coverage from their employers said it was “very difficult” for them to pay their health premiums, while 3% of those who buy the coverage themselves had the same response. Meanwhile, 38% of those with employer coverage and 46% with individual coverage said it was “not at all difficult” to scrape together the premiums.

“The good news is that most people do not find it difficult to pay their insurance premiums or out-of-pocket costs. The bad news is that those who find it very difficult — up to 20 million adults — include many sick, low-income people who really need the care,” says Humphrey Taylor, chairman of The Harris Poll at Harris Interactive.

For more information, go to http://www.harrisinteractive.com/news/newsletters_wsj.asp .