Consumer Attitudes on Health Care Costs: Insights from Focus Groups in Four U.S. Cities

Anger and Confusion as Rising Premiums and High Deductibles Claim a Bigger Share of Household Budgets

An issue brief presents new research examining consumer focus group participants’ attitudes and beliefs about rising health care costs and their effects on U.S. households. The key learnings, derived from focus groups in Chicago; Philadelphia; Denver; and Charlotte, N.C., suggests participants are angered and confused by the escalating premiums and high deductibles. Researchers found a lack of understanding as to why costs are rising.

The new research also finds that as a result of the increase in health care costs, focus group participants are changing how they operate within the health care system. They are questioning their doctors recommendations more frequently, comparing cost and quality information for local providers, and even putting off seeking care altogether.  

Finally, the issue brief suggests that the time may be right to engage U.S. consumers who pay high premiums, deductibles and/or co-pays in efforts to control spending and reduce waste in the health care system.