Fears of big out-of-pocket bills may be starting to have a noticeable effect on the way U.S. residents think about buying medical services.
Researchers at the Employee Benefit Research Institute, Washington, and Mathew Greenwald & Associates Inc., Washington, have published figures supporting that conclusion in a summary of results from a recent telephone survey of 1,000 U.S. residents ages 21 and over.
Participants in the 2007 Health Confidence Survey reported being about as satisfied with their own health coverage as participants in previous surveys in the series had reported.
About 88% of the participants said they are somewhat, very or extremely satisfied with their current plans, down only slightly from 89% in 2006.
When the researchers asked about changes in health care usage resulting from cost increases, survey participants reported a number of positive changes.
The percentage of participants who said they are trying to take better care of themselves increased to 81% this year, from 80% in 2006, and the percentage who say they are talking to doctors more carefully about treatment options and costs has increased to 66%, up from 57%.