Study: More Americans Willing to Make Tradeoffs Between Health Choice and Cost

March 24, 2005 ( - More Americans are willing to have restrictions on their choice of medical providers in return for saving on medical expenses, a new study shows.

According to the Associated Press, 59% of workers are willing to make this tradeoff, up from 55% in 2001. The study that the results are based on was conducted by the Center for Studying Health System Change.

According to Paul Ginsberg, the president of the Center, this is likely a response to increased cost shifting from employer to employee, a trend that has become increasingly common in the past five years. With employees increasingly feeling the pinch, he stated, they are more willing to accept the tradeoff of medical providers and costs.

This willingness is even more pronounced for people living with low incomes. For those making $36,800 – twice the figure given as the poverty line for a family of four – 66% are willing to accept fewer providers for cost savings. For those at four times the poverty level of $73,600, only 54% are willing to make this tradeoff.

Ginsberg noted that this is a trend that has picked up in recent years after the preference between cost and choice was stable between 1997 and 2001. He notes that this may have been in response to a consumer backlash against restricted managed care policies in the middle of the last decade.