Study: Americans Aren't Shopping Around for Health Insurance Plans

Nov 27, 2017

A growing number of Americans have high deductible health insurance plans – meaning they have to spring for the first few thousand dollars of care before insurance coverage kicks in. A new study suggests that despite a rise in these types of plans, most Americans aren’t shopping around for better prices.

The study used data from a national poll to examine the behavior of more than 1600 adults under the age of 65 who had high deductible health plans. 

More than 40 percent of American adults have a high deductible plan, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These plans require individuals to pay at least the first $1,300 out of pocket. And for families – they have to pay $2,600 upfront before insurance kicks in.

The study also found that only 14 percent of participants compared prices for the same service or product, and only 6 percent tried to negotiate the price of a health service.

The study suggests the problem might be that even when Americans do shop around, they only get help from health care providers about half the time.

The study was published online by the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Marshall Health, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.