Haggling with providers likely to increase

May 1, 2002

Pharmaceutical Representative

A new survey shows that a sizable minority of the public is attempting to negotiate lower healthcare bills.

A new survey by Rochester, NY-based research firm Harris Interactive shows that a sizable minority of the public is attempting to negotiate lower healthcare bills. The results are based on a nationwide, online survey of 2,118 adults and were weighted to be representative of all U.S. adults age 18 and above.

The survey found that a significant proportion of the public (17%) reports having talked to a pharmacist in the last 12 months about paying a lower price. Substantial but smaller numbers say they have done this with doctors (13%), dentists (12%) and hospitals (10%).

This phenomenon is more common among consumers who are in only fair or poor health - the people most likely to use medical services. According to Harris, those in only fair or poor health also generally belong to lower-income households.

Successful negotiations

Approximately half of all those who tried to negotiate a lower price report that they did so successfully.

According to Harris, the number of people who will try to negotiate lower prices with their doctors, pharmacists, hospitals or dentists will increase substantially as out-of-pocket healthcare costs rise. The poll found that a third of all adults say they will be "very likely" to try to get a better price if this happens, and 20% say they will be "likely" to do so. PR

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