Nine in 10 people want to have a say in important decisions regarding their health care, new research reveals.
This finding was released in the fall 2013 Altarum Institute Survey of Consumer Health Care Opinions, the fifth in an ongoing series of semiannual surveys conducted by Altarum’s Center for Consumer Choice in Health Care (CCCHC). The surveys collect information on consumer beliefs and preferences about health care.
The research reveals that one-third would like to make a shared decision with their doctor, 43 percent want to make the final decision with some professional input, and 16 percent prefer to be completely in charge of their medical decisions.
The survey indicates that retirement-oriented health care planning is lacking: Only 5 percent of people are certain that they will have the recommended amount of savings needed to cover health care expenses after they retire, while more than 80 percent are either unsure or unlikely to have enough money set aside for health care in retirement.
The survey also finds that most consumers face financial pressures and may be cutting back on care as a result.
The report adds that most consumers would be comfortable approaching their doctor about the cost of health care services. Four out of five are either somewhat or very comfortable asking about price. Despite this, fewer than half of consumers have actually asked about the price of care.
“It’s a positive sign that people are open to asking their doctors about costs and involving themselves in their health care decisions,” said Wendy Lynch, director of CCCHC and the study’s author. “But overall, the study shows that people still have their head in the sand when it comes to what they think they can control. They have more power than they realize just by asking questions; now they just need to use it.”