In a national TransUnion Healthcare survey of insured consumers, it was found that two thirds of Americans are consistently surprised by their medical bills. The survey concluded only 25% of insured patients are offered any pre-treatment cost estimates, despite their expectations for such.
The rise in consumer cost awareness extends beyond out-of-pocket costs (premiums, co-pays and co-insurance pays.) Two thirds of survey respondents reported they wanted to know the full cost of care, including the insurance company’s portion, while one-third said they only care about the costs for which they are directly responsible.
“Today’s cost-aware consumer has a greater expectation that providers will offer upfront cost estimates and timely and accurate post-treatment bills. With consumers placing more emphasis on billing and payment when evaluating quality of care, it’s imperative that providers have the technology and processes to meet this consumer demand,” said Senior Vice President of TransUnion Healthcare, Dave Wojczynski, in a statement.
While consumers do seek out information about costs, 62% were almost always surprised by out-of-pocket costs, and more than half reported they were nearly always confused by their bills. As a result, customers are beginning to see front-end cost estimates as a critical tool in managing their healthcare.
It is important for you, as the consumer, to get into the habit of asking your insurance provider for expected upfront costs for any major procedure, and for estimates on aftercare needs. This will help you prepare for when your bill arrives in the mail.