Haggling Over Healthcare Costs Happens About as Much Today but With Better Results Compared to Three Years Ago

Dec 01, 2005, 00:00 ET from Harris Interactive

    ROCHESTER, N.Y., Dec. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- A new Wall Street Journal
 Online/Harris Interactive Health-Care Poll shows that U.S. adults are no more
 likely to haggle over healthcare costs with various providers today than they
 were three years ago. However, when they do engage in discussions about costs,
 they are more likely to feel that they have been successful in negotiating a
 lower price for health-related products and services. The survey also shows
 that despite this increased feeling of success, adults are less likely today
 than three years ago to say that if their out-of-pocket healthcare expenses
 increased in the next two years, they would be likely or very likely to
 negotiate a better price for medical bills (44% now compared to 53% in 2002).
     Below are the results of the online survey of 2,027 U.S. adults conducted
 by Harris Interactive(R) between November 15 and 17, 2005 for The Wall Street
 Journal Online's Health Industry Edition.
 
     There has been little or virtually no change in the percentage of adults
 who have talked with healthcare service providers to negotiate a lower price
 for products or services. Specifically:
 
      * Thirteen percent (13%) say they have talked with a pharmacist to see if
        they could pay a lower price than what they had been billed, compared
        to 17 percent in 2002.
 
      * Twelve percent (12%) say they have negotiated with a doctor, compared
        to 13 percent in 2002.
 
      * One in ten (10%) say they have negotiated with a dentist, compared to
        12 percent in 2002.
 
      * Nine percent (9%) have negotiated with a hospital, compared to 10
        percent in 2002.
 
     This year, adults were also asked whether they have tried to negotiate a
 lower price with a health insurer or plan, and 13 percent report having done
 so.
     While these numbers have not changed much since 2002, the percentage of
 adults who talked with these providers and said they were successful in
 negotiating a lower price, did increase significantly.
 
      * Seven in 10 (70%) adults who talked with a hospital say they were
        successful in negotiating a lower price for their medical bills, up
        from 45 percent 2002.
 
      * Approximately two-thirds (64%) of adults who negotiated with a dentist
        say they were successful, compared to 47 percent three years ago.
 
      * Approximately three in five (61%) adults who negotiated with a doctor
        say they were successful, up from 54 percent in 2002.
 
      * More than half (56%) of those who talked with a pharmacist say they
        were successful in negotiating a lower price, compared to 48 percent in
        2002.
 
     In addition, among those who tried to negotiate a lower price with a
 health insurer or plan, less than half (45%) say they were successful.
     "We can see that consumers who have engaged in discussions about costs
 have had success in negotiating lower prices for health-related products and
 services," states Katherine Binns, president of the Healthcare and Public
 Relations Research Practice at Harris Interactive(R). "This suggests that as
 we continue to more toward a world of 'consumer-directed healthcare,'
 consumers may find it increasingly necessary to confront health care providers
 and insurers about costs, and that they will become increasingly confident in
 negotiating for health-related goods and services as they do in other sectors
 of the economy."
 
 
                                    TABLE 1
        EVER TALKED TO VARIOUS HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS TO TRY TO NEGOTIATE
                                 A LOWER PRICE
 "In the last 12 months, have you ever talked to any of the following to see if
 you could pay a lower price than they had billed you, or wanted to bill you?"
      Percent who say they have talked to each particular service provider
     Base: All Adults
 
                                                         2002           2005
                                                            %              %
     Pharmacist                                            17             13
     Health Insurer or Plan                                NA             13
     Doctor                                                13             12
     Dentist                                               12             10
     Hospital                                              10              9
 
 
                                    TABLE 2
   PROPORTION OF THOSE WHO TRIED TO NEGOTIATE LOWER PRICE WHO WERE SUCCESSFUL
             "Were you successful in getting to pay a lower price?"
                        Percent saying "was successful"
     Base: Talked to (particular) provider about medical bills (base varies)
 
                                                         2002           2005
                                                            %              %
     Pharmacist (n=253)                                    48             56
     Health Insurer or Plan (n=239)                        NA             45
     Doctor (n=232)                                        54             61
     Dentist (n=221)                                       47             64
     Hospital (n=174)                                      45             70
 
 
                                    TABLE 3
  LIKELIHOOD TO TRY TO NEGOTIATE LOWER PRICES IF OUT-OF-POCKET COSTS INCREASE
    "In the next two years, if the out-of-pocket cost to you of your medical
       bills, that is, after whatever your insurance pays for, increases
    substantially, how likely would you be to negotiate a better price for a
                                 medical bill?"
     Base: All Adults
 
                                                         2002           2005
                                                            %              %
     Very likely/Likely (NET)                              53             44
     Very likely                                           32             23
     Likely                                                21             21
     Somewhat likely/Not at all likely (NET)               34             39
     Somewhat likely                                       22             20
     Not at all likely                                     12             19
     Not sure                                              12             18
 
     Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.
 
 Downloadable PDFs of Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Health-Care
 Polls are posted at http://www.harrisinteractive.com/news/newsletters_wsj.asp.
 
     Methodology
     Harris Interactive conducted this online survey within the United States
 between November 15 and 17, 2005 among a national cross section of 2,027
 adults, ages 18 years and over. Figures for age, gender, race/ethnicity,
 education, income and region were weighted where necessary to align with
 population proportions. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for
 respondents' propensity to be online.
     In theory, with probability samples of this size, one could say with 95
 percent certainty that the overall results have a sampling error of plus or
 minus 3 percentage points of what they would be if the entire U.S. adult
 population had been polled with complete accuracy. Sampling error for the
 sub-samples listed in Table 2 is higher and varies. Unfortunately, there are
 several other possible sources of error in polls or surveys that are probably
 more serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. This includes
 refusals to be interviewed (nonresponse), question wording and question order,
 and weighting. It is impossible to quantify the errors that may result from
 these factors. This online sample is not a probability sample.
     These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National
 Council on Public Polls.
 
     About the Survey
     The Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Health-Care Poll is an
 exclusive poll that is published in the award-winning Health Industry Edition
 of The Wall Street Journal Online at http://www.wsj.com/health.
 
     About The Wall Street Journal Online
     The Wall Street Journal Online at WSJ.com, published by Dow Jones &
 Company (NYSE:   DJ; http://www.dowjones.com), is the largest paid subscription
 news site on the Web. Launched in 1996, the Online Journal continues to
 attract quality subscribers that are at the top of their industries, with
 764,000 subscribers world-wide as of Q3, 2005.
     The Online Journal provides in-depth business news and financial
 information 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with insight and analysis,
 including breaking business and technology news and analysis from around the
 world. It draws on the Dow Jones network of more than 1,800 business and
 financial news staff-the largest network of business and financial journalists
 in the world. The Online Journal also features exclusive content, including
 interactive graphics on business and world news, and online-only columns about
 the automotive industry, technology, personal finance and more.
     The Online Journal offers two industry-specific editions: the award-
 winning Health Industry Edition and the Media & Marketing Edition. The Health
 Industry Edition offers authoritative analysis, breaking news and commentary
 from top industry journalists. The Media & Marketing Edition is designed for
 professionals in the advertising, marketing, entertainment and media
 industries. Subscribers to both online editions also get access to the full
 content of the Online Journal.
     In 2005, the Online Journal was awarded a Codie Award for Best Online News
 Service for the second consecutive year, and its Health Industry Edition was
 awarded Best Online Science or Technology Service for the third consecutive
 year. In 2004, the Online Journal received an EPpy Award for Best Internet
 Business Service over 1 million monthly visitors.
     The Wall Street Journal Online network includes CareerJournal.com,
 OpinionJournal.com, StartupJournal.com, RealEstateJournal.com and
 CollegeJournal.com.
 
     About Harris Interactive(R)
     Harris Interactive Inc. (http://www.harrisinteractive.com), based in
 Rochester, New York, is the 13th largest and the fastest-growing market
 research firm in the world, most widely known for The Harris Poll(R) and for
 its pioneering leadership in the online market research industry. Long
 recognized by its clients for delivering insights that enable confident
 business decisions, the Company blends the science of innovative research with
 the art of strategic consulting to deliver knowledge that leads to measurable
 and enduring value.
     Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States,
 Europe (http://www.harrisinteractive.com/europe) and Asia offices, its
 wholly-owned subsidiary Novatris in Paris, France (http://www.novatris.com),
 and through an independent global network of affiliate market research
 companies. EOE M/F/D/V
     To become a member of the Harris Poll Online(SM) and be invited to
 participate in future online surveys, go to http://www.harrispollonline.com
 
     Press Contacts:
 
      Robert Christie
      Dow Jones & Company
      212-416-2636
 
      Nancy Wong
      Harris Interactive
      585-214-7316
 
      Kelly Gullo
      Harris Interactive
      585-214-7172
 
 

SOURCE Harris Interactive
    ROCHESTER, N.Y., Dec. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- A new Wall Street Journal
 Online/Harris Interactive Health-Care Poll shows that U.S. adults are no more
 likely to haggle over healthcare costs with various providers today than they
 were three years ago. However, when they do engage in discussions about costs,
 they are more likely to feel that they have been successful in negotiating a
 lower price for health-related products and services. The survey also shows
 that despite this increased feeling of success, adults are less likely today
 than three years ago to say that if their out-of-pocket healthcare expenses
 increased in the next two years, they would be likely or very likely to
 negotiate a better price for medical bills (44% now compared to 53% in 2002).
     Below are the results of the online survey of 2,027 U.S. adults conducted
 by Harris Interactive(R) between November 15 and 17, 2005 for The Wall Street
 Journal Online's Health Industry Edition.
 
     There has been little or virtually no change in the percentage of adults
 who have talked with healthcare service providers to negotiate a lower price
 for products or services. Specifically:
 
      * Thirteen percent (13%) say they have talked with a pharmacist to see if
        they could pay a lower price than what they had been billed, compared
        to 17 percent in 2002.
 
      * Twelve percent (12%) say they have negotiated with a doctor, compared
        to 13 percent in 2002.
 
      * One in ten (10%) say they have negotiated with a dentist, compared to
        12 percent in 2002.
 
      * Nine percent (9%) have negotiated with a hospital, compared to 10
        percent in 2002.
 
     This year, adults were also asked whether they have tried to negotiate a
 lower price with a health insurer or plan, and 13 percent report having done
 so.
     While these numbers have not changed much since 2002, the percentage of
 adults who talked with these providers and said they were successful in
 negotiating a lower price, did increase significantly.
 
      * Seven in 10 (70%) adults who talked with a hospital say they were
        successful in negotiating a lower price for their medical bills, up
        from 45 percent 2002.
 
      * Approximately two-thirds (64%) of adults who negotiated with a dentist
        say they were successful, compared to 47 percent three years ago.
 
      * Approximately three in five (61%) adults who negotiated with a doctor
        say they were successful, up from 54 percent in 2002.
 
      * More than half (56%) of those who talked with a pharmacist say they
        were successful in negotiating a lower price, compared to 48 percent in
        2002.
 
     In addition, among those who tried to negotiate a lower price with a
 health insurer or plan, less than half (45%) say they were successful.
     "We can see that consumers who have engaged in discussions about costs
 have had success in negotiating lower prices for health-related products and
 services," states Katherine Binns, president of the Healthcare and Public
 Relations Research Practice at Harris Interactive(R). "This suggests that as
 we continue to more toward a world of 'consumer-directed healthcare,'
 consumers may find it increasingly necessary to confront health care providers
 and insurers about costs, and that they will become increasingly confident in
 negotiating for health-related goods and services as they do in other sectors
 of the economy."
 
 
                                    TABLE 1
        EVER TALKED TO VARIOUS HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS TO TRY TO NEGOTIATE
                                 A LOWER PRICE
 "In the last 12 months, have you ever talked to any of the following to see if
 you could pay a lower price than they had billed you, or wanted to bill you?"
      Percent who say they have talked to each particular service provider
     Base: All Adults
 
                                                         2002           2005
                                                            %              %
     Pharmacist                                            17             13
     Health Insurer or Plan                                NA             13
     Doctor                                                13             12
     Dentist                                               12             10
     Hospital                                              10              9
 
 
                                    TABLE 2
   PROPORTION OF THOSE WHO TRIED TO NEGOTIATE LOWER PRICE WHO WERE SUCCESSFUL
             "Were you successful in getting to pay a lower price?"
                        Percent saying "was successful"
     Base: Talked to (particular) provider about medical bills (base varies)
 
                                                         2002           2005
                                                            %              %
     Pharmacist (n=253)                                    48             56
     Health Insurer or Plan (n=239)                        NA             45
     Doctor (n=232)                                        54             61
     Dentist (n=221)                                       47             64
     Hospital (n=174)                                      45             70
 
 
                                    TABLE 3
  LIKELIHOOD TO TRY TO NEGOTIATE LOWER PRICES IF OUT-OF-POCKET COSTS INCREASE
    "In the next two years, if the out-of-pocket cost to you of your medical
       bills, that is, after whatever your insurance pays for, increases
    substantially, how likely would you be to negotiate a better price for a
                                 medical bill?"
     Base: All Adults
 
                                                         2002           2005
                                                            %              %
     Very likely/Likely (NET)                              53             44
     Very likely                                           32             23
     Likely                                                21             21
     Somewhat likely/Not at all likely (NET)               34             39
     Somewhat likely                                       22             20
     Not at all likely                                     12             19
     Not sure                                              12             18
 
     Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.
 
 Downloadable PDFs of Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Health-Care
 Polls are posted at http://www.harrisinteractive.com/news/newsletters_wsj.asp.
 
     Methodology
     Harris Interactive conducted this online survey within the United States
 between November 15 and 17, 2005 among a national cross section of 2,027
 adults, ages 18 years and over. Figures for age, gender, race/ethnicity,
 education, income and region were weighted where necessary to align with
 population proportions. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for
 respondents' propensity to be online.
     In theory, with probability samples of this size, one could say with 95
 percent certainty that the overall results have a sampling error of plus or
 minus 3 percentage points of what they would be if the entire U.S. adult
 population had been polled with complete accuracy. Sampling error for the
 sub-samples listed in Table 2 is higher and varies. Unfortunately, there are
 several other possible sources of error in polls or surveys that are probably
 more serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. This includes
 refusals to be interviewed (nonresponse), question wording and question order,
 and weighting. It is impossible to quantify the errors that may result from
 these factors. This online sample is not a probability sample.
     These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National
 Council on Public Polls.
 
     About the Survey
     The Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Health-Care Poll is an
 exclusive poll that is published in the award-winning Health Industry Edition
 of The Wall Street Journal Online at http://www.wsj.com/health.
 
     About The Wall Street Journal Online
     The Wall Street Journal Online at WSJ.com, published by Dow Jones &
 Company (NYSE:   DJ; http://www.dowjones.com), is the largest paid subscription
 news site on the Web. Launched in 1996, the Online Journal continues to
 attract quality subscribers that are at the top of their industries, with
 764,000 subscribers world-wide as of Q3, 2005.
     The Online Journal provides in-depth business news and financial
 information 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with insight and analysis,
 including breaking business and technology news and analysis from around the
 world. It draws on the Dow Jones network of more than 1,800 business and
 financial news staff-the largest network of business and financial journalists
 in the world. The Online Journal also features exclusive content, including
 interactive graphics on business and world news, and online-only columns about
 the automotive industry, technology, personal finance and more.
     The Online Journal offers two industry-specific editions: the award-
 winning Health Industry Edition and the Media & Marketing Edition. The Health
 Industry Edition offers authoritative analysis, breaking news and commentary
 from top industry journalists. The Media & Marketing Edition is designed for
 professionals in the advertising, marketing, entertainment and media
 industries. Subscribers to both online editions also get access to the full
 content of the Online Journal.
     In 2005, the Online Journal was awarded a Codie Award for Best Online News
 Service for the second consecutive year, and its Health Industry Edition was
 awarded Best Online Science or Technology Service for the third consecutive
 year. In 2004, the Online Journal received an EPpy Award for Best Internet
 Business Service over 1 million monthly visitors.
     The Wall Street Journal Online network includes CareerJournal.com,
 OpinionJournal.com, StartupJournal.com, RealEstateJournal.com and
 CollegeJournal.com.
 
     About Harris Interactive(R)
     Harris Interactive Inc. (http://www.harrisinteractive.com), based in
 Rochester, New York, is the 13th largest and the fastest-growing market
 research firm in the world, most widely known for The Harris Poll(R) and for
 its pioneering leadership in the online market research industry. Long
 recognized by its clients for delivering insights that enable confident
 business decisions, the Company blends the science of innovative research with
 the art of strategic consulting to deliver knowledge that leads to measurable
 and enduring value.
     Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States,
 Europe (http://www.harrisinteractive.com/europe) and Asia offices, its
 wholly-owned subsidiary Novatris in Paris, France (http://www.novatris.com),
 and through an independent global network of affiliate market research
 companies. EOE M/F/D/V
     To become a member of the Harris Poll Online(SM) and be invited to
 participate in future online surveys, go to http://www.harrispollonline.com
 
     Press Contacts:
 
      Robert Christie
      Dow Jones & Company
      212-416-2636
 
      Nancy Wong
      Harris Interactive
      585-214-7316
 
      Kelly Gullo
      Harris Interactive
      585-214-7172
 
 SOURCE  Harris Interactive