Based on a survey by UnitedHealthcare, an increasing number of people are turning to online tools to help them comparison-shop for health care services. Out of 1,032 participants age 18 or above, 14 percent said that they use online resources to compare rates for medical care services and treatment. The reason behind this phenomenon is greater awareness that information about the cost of medical treatment is more easily available over the Internet.
The survey also revealed that 40 percent use the Internet to research their choice of health care providers before they actually buy health care services. Out of that 40 percent, about one in four respondents researched their health care options for three or four hours before getting a major medical procedure. But, for something as expensive and possibly life altering as a major health care procedure, 40 percent is alarmingly low.
According to Yasmine Winkler, UnitedHealthcare’s chief product and marketing officer, this only shows that people are starting to accept the idea of comparison shopping online when it comes to health care just as they have for other major purchases. She said that this 14 percent is already a huge improvement compared to the number of people who used the Internet to compare treatment rates just five years ago.
I suggest that you familiarize yourself with the Healthcare Blue Book, which is a premiere website allowing you to assess standard prices on many different kinds of health care services wherever you live. One thing to consider is that prices tend to be similar in certain areas. You may find better rates by looking in different regions. It’s even been suggested that getting a second opinion from a different area is beneficial.
To help you find insurance that has a vast network of providers, our instant quotes show you a Provider Lookup link. Seeing details about the coverage, deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums, etc., is just as easy when you run quotes. You can even download a plan brochure all in one place in just minutes.
Wiley Long is President of HSA for America, and a passionate advocate for consumer-based solutions that will improve price transparency and lower health insurance and medical costs for people purchasing individual and family health insurance plans.