Majority of Consumers Do Not Know Cost of Care and Treatment Upfront  

By Consumers for Quality Care, on February 21, 2024

Majority of Consumers Do Not Know Cost of Care and Treatment Upfront  

Consumers generally do not know the upfront costs of health care products, services, and treatment, according to a new poll conducted by Gallup and reported by Axios.  

Less than one in five adult consumers (17 percent) know how much a health care procedure or service will cost ahead of time. The findings were similar for consumers of different insurance statuses, age, and education levels. The similarity across demographics suggests that there is a “society-wide lack of awareness” regarding health care price transparency, according to Stephanie Marken, a Gallup Senior Partner in the Education Division. 

Nearly all respondents (95 percent) complained about the lack of price transparency in the health care system, and urged health care organizations to make their prices known before care is provided. Most consumers (56 percent) also feel they are overpaying for their health care in terms of the benefits they receive.  

Not knowing the cost of a medical service or procedure can be financially devastating for a family. They could end up owing medical debt that they may not be able to pay. Medical debt, or just the fear of it, could cause consumers to skip or delay essential medical care, leading to negative health outcomes.  

Consumers for Quality Care believes patients should have a right to the information they need to compare costs and make informed decisions about their health care.