ANN ARBOR, Mich., Aug. 31 /PRNewswire/ – Americans have grown increasingly confident about their ability to pay for healthcare services. A new report — Thomson Reuters Healthcare Indexes(TM): Consumer Confidence — found that consumer confidence related to healthcare expenditures increased 12 percent between March and July.
The analysis is based on telephone surveys of 3,000 households each month from March through July 2009 — part of the Thomson Reuters PULSE Healthcare Survey. PULSE polls more than 100,000 U.S. households each year about their healthcare behaviors, attitudes and utilization, making it the nation’s largest and longest running privately funded healthcare survey.
Consumers were asked about their ability to pay for medical care and the likelihood they would postpone or cancel care during the next three months due to economic concerns.
Here are the key findings:
- Healthcare Consumer Confidence Rises: Overall consumer confidence increased 12 percent between March and July.
- Payment Confidence Index Up 18 Percent: A sub-index reflecting respondents’ belief that they will be able to pay for their healthcare expenses in the next three months rose 18 percent during the study period.
- Patients Say They Are Less Likely to Postpone Care: Sub-indexes that reflect respondents’ anticipated ability to access routine care, urgent care, medical testing, elective surgery and therapies all increased between 8 percent and 15 percent.
- Older Americans Most Confident: Overall confidence levels and rate of improvement of confidence were both highest among seniors.
- Insurance Coverage Has Powerful Effect on Confidence: Those without insurance coverage had overall confidence levels 80 percent lower than average in July.
“These findings are consistent with data we’ve been seeing for everything from hospital discharge trends to opinions about healthcare reform,” said Gary Pickens, chief research officer for the Healthcare & Science business of Thomson Reuters and lead author of the study. “There is growing optimism among many healthcare consumers, but also is a clear disparity in outlook between those with higher income levels who have insurance coverage and those who are uninsured. This gap needs to be an area of focus for healthcare professionals and policymakers.”
A copy of the study is available here (free registration required). This analysis is part of a series of research papers assessing the impact of the current recession on the healthcare system.
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Source: Thomson Reuters
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