Consumers have only a vague idea of what medical services really cost.[@@]
Researchers from Great-West Healthcare, Greenwood Village, Colo., have published data supporting that conclusion in a report on a telephone survey of 2,000 U.S. residents ages 18 to 64 conducted by Harris Interactive Inc., Rochester, N.Y.
Survey workers asked participants about the average cost of plumber’s time for basic repairs, a round-trip plane ticket for a trip from New York to Los Angeles, a routine doctor’s visit, an emergency room visit and a 4-day stay at a hospital.
Participants were within 8% of what researchers believed to be the correct price for the plane ticket and within 17% of the estimated price for the plumber’s services.
Participants’ estimates were 24% higher than the researchers’ estimate of the average list price of an emergency room visit, 29% lower than the researchers’ estimate for a routine’s doctor’s visit and 56% lower than the researchers’ estimate for a 4-day hospital stay.