By Consumers For Quality Care, on October 31, 2018
Mainers most frustrated by hospital fees and unexpected bills, insurance costs
Augusta, Maine – A new survey from Ipsos on behalf of Consumers for Quality Care found that heading into election day, Maine voters are deeply frustrated by unpredictable costs and the lack of transparency in health care. The full survey findings can be found here.
“Information is power, and Mainers and folks across the country are hungry for a better understanding about how consumer costs are determined in the health care realm,” said CQC Board Member Scott Mulhauser. “The consensus on prioritizing transparency and predictability transcends political parties. Consumers and families are particularly eager for more clarity about what’s covered by their insurance – and what isn’t – so they can make better decisions and avoid getting hit with surprise bills and fees.”
Nearly 70 percent of Maine survey respondents say it’s too difficult to know how much they are going to have to pay for health care, and:
- 83 percent want increased clarity on what health care providers and medicines are covered under their insurance;
- 82 percent want more clarity on their out-of-pocket hospital costs;
- 78 percent want explanations of how often and why payments for specific, prescribed treatments may be denied by insurance; and
- 77 percent want more clarity on out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions.
The top things Mainers reported as most frustrating about health care are hospital fees and unexpected bills (78 percent), insurance costs like premiums, copays and deductibles (74 percent), and narrow insurance networks (65 percent).
“This research makes clear that Mainers and consumers across the country want innovative solutions from policymakers and the private sector that shine a bright light on costs, patient assistance programs, and other ways to save money,” said Mulhauser.
The changes a strong majority of Mainers want politicians and private sector industry leaders to focus on are ones that would make the health care system more affordable and costs more transparent to consumers. These include:
- Informing customers at the point-of-sale if there is a way to save money on a prescription (93 percent);
- Requiring pharmaceutical companies to provide more information about drug costs and financial assistance that may be available to patients (89 percent);
- Requiring increased transparency from hospitals, health insurance, and pharmaceutical companies about cost and access to health care (88 percent); and
- Ensuring insurance companies do not prevent patients from reaching their insurance deductible (79 percent).
This new Ipsos poll was conducted October 4-11, 2018. The survey sample included more than 1,700 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii, including 252 likely voters in Maine, with oversamples of 250 African Americans and 250 Hispanics to ensure fuller demographic representation. The interview was conducted online in both English and Spanish.
In April, a CQC-Ipsos survey found that Americans fear health care costs even more than they worry about costs associated with retirement, college, housing or child care.
More information can be found at www.consumers4qualitycare.org/research.
Consumers for Quality Care (CQC) is a coalition of advocates and former policy makers working to provide a voice for patients in the health care debate as they demand better care. CQC is led by a board of directors that includes the Honorable Donna Christensen, physician and former Member of Congress; Jim Manley, former senior advisor to Senators Edward Kennedy and Harry Reid; Scott Mulhauser, founder of Aperture Strategies and former senior advisor to the Senate Finance Committee and Vice President Joe Biden; and Jason Resendez, community advocate and Executive Director of the LatinosAgainstAlzheimer’s Network and Coalition.
To learn more about Consumers for Quality Care and the issues consumers are experiencing, visit www.consumers4qualitycare.org.