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Seniors Try to Shop for Care

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Many older U.S. residents ask about the cost of medical care, but few try to ask for discounts.

Extend Health Inc., San Mateo, Calif., a Medicare plan exchange operator, commissioned a survey of 377 adults ages 65 and older.

About 41% of the survey participants said they try to estimate the out-of-pocket cost of their medical care at least some of the time; about 39% of those participants believe they come up with an accurate estimate most or all of the time.

But 22% rarely or never come up with an accurate estimate, and 48% said they rarely or never ask providers how much a medical service will cost. Only 25% ask about the cost of medical services most or all of the time.

Just 13% said they have tried to negotiate for a lower price for a medical service; 87% have never tried to negotiate with providers.

- Allison Bell

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