Americans' Confidence in Their Ability to Access and Pay for Healthcare Declines Significantly in May, According to Thomson Reuters Index

Jun 28, 2010, 08:00 ET from Thomson Reuters

ANN ARBOR, Mich., June 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans' confidence in their ability to access and pay for healthcare reached a new low in May, reversing the temporary boost in confidence seen in April, according to a new consumer sentiment index from Thomson Reuters. The decline in confidence can be seen in all Sentiment Index components over the first five months of 2010.

The Consumer Healthcare Sentiment Index found that confidence decreased three points from 99 in April to 96 in May, a statistically significant drop.

The index, which is based on the Thomson Reuters PULSE™ Healthcare Survey, has two parts. A retrospective component gauges respondents' experiences during the past three months. A prospective component gauges their expectations for the coming three months.

In May, respondents expressed across the board pessimism in their ability to access and pay for healthcare services in the next three months — resulting in the prospective consumer healthcare outlook dipping from 99 to 96.  Retrospective consumer responses indicated significant increases in postponement or delay of care, delay in or failure to fill a prescription and difficulty paying for healthcare over the last three months.

"The month-to-month fluctuations we've seen in the Consumer Healthcare Sentiment Index are consistent with other economy-wide consumer confidence indexes – continued high levels of unemployment and uncertainty around the impacts of healthcare reform are likely driving this volatility," said Gary Pickens, chief research officer at Thomson Reuters.  "According to the Thomson Reuters PULSE Healthcare Survey, 50 percent of respondents expect healthcare reform to increase healthcare costs.  That concern is showing up in our consumer sentiment data."

The Consumer Healthcare Sentiment Index is updated monthly. A full report on the May results is available here:

The Thomson Reuters PULSE Healthcare Survey collects information about healthcare behaviors, attitudes and utilization from more than 100,000 U.S. households annually. It is representative of all U.S. adults and households. The Consumer Healthcare Sentiment Index is based on responses from a survey subset of 3,000 respondents each month. Its baseline measurement of 100 was set in December 2009.

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SOURCE Thomson Reuters