A new study may come as a surprise for insurance agents who think insurance customers prioritize cost above all.
According to a survey recently published in the March issue of Health Affairs and conducted by Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, when asked to choose a healthcare provider based solely on price, consumers tend to select the more expensive plan.
The report - titled "An Experiment Shows that a Well-Designed Report on Costs and Quality Can Help Consumers Choose High-Value Healthcare" - found that consumers tend to associate lower cost with a lower quality of healthcare, and thus often choose more expensive plans when given a choice. However, when consumers were told early on that both healthcare plans were high quality, they naturally chose the more affordable option.
"This study has important implications for the more than 150 public reports on physician and hospital care," said Carolyn Clancy, director of AHRQ. "It's not simply a question of providing information on cost, but providing it in a way that is integrated with quality scores."
Because cost is not always an indicator of quality, it's important for insurance agents to provides as much information as possible to clients about the advantages and disadvantages of different plans.