Empowering Health Care Consumers


Public Agenda

Funding Area

Empowering Health Care Consumers


April 6, 2017


These reports summarize survey results on how people view, seek, understand, value, and respond to health care price information, both nationally and state-specific, including New York State.

In recent years, insurers, state governments, employers, and other entities have been trying to make health care price information more easily available to individuals and families. In this changing landscape, how do Americans find and use this information?

Conducted by Public Agenda, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and NYHealth, the surveys offer new data that can contribute to current health care policy debates. The surveys reveal a large gap between the information people need and ongoing transparency efforts. Among the findings:

  • People are interested in using price information to save on costs and willing to shop around. 50% of Americans (and 48% of New Yorkers) have tried to find information about health care prices before getting care, with higher rates among those with deductibles or who are uninsured.
  • Consumers do not believe they need to sacrifice quality to save money. Seventy percent of Americans (and 67% of New Yorkers) do not believe that higher price equals better care or higher quality. And of those Americans who did compare prices, 53% chose less expensive care.
  • A large number of Americans are unaware that doctors and hospitals charge different prices for the same serviceā€”a misconception that can discourage people from seeking out price information or shopping around. About 55% are unaware that prices may vary among providers for the same service.
  • Although few resources provide health care price information, there is strong public support for states, insurers, employers, and medical providers to play a larger role in helping people obtain and understand price information. For example, 80% of Americans think states should provide people with price information and 70% favor doctors or their staff members discussing prices with patients.

Read the full report of the national and state-specific surveys.

Read a brief on the national and state-specific surveys.

Read a brief on the New York-specific findings.

Access briefs for Florida, Texas, and New Hampshire, along with the methodology and other supporting materials for the surveys.

On April 6, 2017, NYHealth, Public Agenda, and RWJF held a public release of the national and state survey results. Learn more and watch a video of the briefing.