Researchers at Great-West Healthcare have discovered conflicting trends in U.S. consumers’ thoughts about health care.

Great-West, Greenwood Village, Colo., a unit of the Power Corporation of Canada, Montreal, recently sponsored a survey of 1,000 working U.S. adults ages 18 to 64 who belong to employer-sponsored health plans.

When Great-West researchers compared results of the new survey with results of a similar survey the company sponsored in 2005, they found that insured employees have grown somewhat better at estimating health care costs but less likely to know actual cost figures and far less likely to take responsibility for their own personal health.

The overall accuracy of survey participants’ estimates of the cost of medical products and services increased to 24% this year, from 14% in 2005.

The accuracy of participants’ estimates of the cost of non-medical products and services, such as a Bose music system, increased to 46%, from 40%, over the same period.

Nevertheless, despite reports that some health insurers will be trying to give members access to detailed, provider-specific health care cost information, only 18% of this year’s survey participants said they had learned the cost of medical treatment before or at the time of treatment, down from 22% in 2005.

Meanwhile, only 60% of participants agreed this year that they believe they can control whether or not they get sick by living healthy lives, down from 82% in 2005.