Healthcare Consumer Confidence Dips in July, According to Thomson Reuters Sentiment Index

Aug 02, 2011, 11:32 ET from Thomson Reuters Healthcare

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Aug. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans' confidence in their ability to access and pay for healthcare declined in July after two straight months of improvement, according to a consumer sentiment index produced by Thomson Reuters.

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The Thomson Reuters Consumer Healthcare Sentiment Index dropped from 99 in June to 96 in July, surrendering gains made since hitting a low of 95 in April.

U.S. healthcare consumers polled in July predicted they will be more likely to delay, postpone or cancel office visits, elective surgeries, and therapies in the next three months. They also said they have had, and expect to continue having, difficulty paying for healthcare services and insurance. This is a significant reversal from June, when consumers generally expressed optimism for the future.

"The index hit historic lows in April, rebounded in May and June, and recorded across-the-board declines in July," said Gary Pickens, chief research officer at the Thomson Reuters Center for Healthcare Analytics. "It is clear that consumer attitudes remain extremely volatile."

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. It tracks whether they postponed, delayed or cancelled healthcare services and whether they had difficulty paying for medical care or health insurance. In July, retrospective consumer sentiment dropped from 98 to 96.
  • A prospective component gauges respondents' expectations for the next three months.  In July, prospective consumer sentiment fell from 100 to 97.

The Thomson Reuters Consumer Healthcare Sentiment Index is updated monthly. A full report on the July 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 Healthcare