Patients' knowledge of insurance co-pays reduces ED use
NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted April 19, 2010
Patients who better understand how much they pay for health insurance and co-pays are more likely to regularly access office-based medical care than to seek treatment at an emergency department, according to a study in the April American Journal of Managed Care (link).
"Given the enormous costs of emergency room visits in contrast to office visits, it appears that more transparency about costs of health care services could help both employees and employers contain their respective expenditure on health services," said James Burgess Jr., PhD, one of the paper's authors and associate professor of health policy and management at Boston University School of Public Health.
Researchers surveyed 1,500 employees of the Massachusetts state government. Approximately 62% knew how much they paid for their insurance premiums, and 67% knew the co-pay for a physician visit.
Younger, less-educated, low-income employees were more aware of health care costs than were those who were older, had more schooling and earned more money.
Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2010/04/19/bibf0419.htm.