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Third Annual HealthSparq Report Suggests Opportunity for Health Plans to Earn Member Loyalty by Going Beyond Imminent Transparency Mandates

PORTLAND, Ore. – May 25, 2021 – HealthSparq today announced findings from a survey of more than 1,000 people exploring perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors around healthcare transparency efforts and the implications for health plans. The findings, published in the 2021 Annual Consumer Sentiment Benchmark, reveal an urgent need for price transparency and increasing consumer demand for healthcare guidance. Most people (83%) want to see accurate information on out-of-pocket costs before having healthcare services, while too many (25%) have avoided getting care because they did not have information about the costs.

On Jan. 1, 2022, the first phase of transparency mandates for health plans will take effect in an effort to give people more insights into pricing for all types of healthcare services. And while many health plans already provide an online comparison tool or price estimator, the new research shows that there’s a general lack of awareness that this information is available. In fact, 38% of people don’t know whether their health plan offers transparency tools.

“People are eager for pricing information in healthcare and it’s an area that creates so much frustration,” said Mark Menton, General Manager at HealthSparq. “Government price transparency mandates will help make healthcare cost information more available, but they won’t ensure people will know the resources exist or make it easy for them. This year’s research makes it clear health plans need to go beyond mandate minimums to deliver what their members really want – which is personalized information and guidance.”

Other notable findings include:

  • People want guidance. Seventy percent want their health plan to guide them through the process of finding a provider and 48% want more help understanding and navigating healthcare options.
  • People who know they have tools do use them: Sixty percent of people who have healthcare transparency tools have used them in the past 12 months. And, among those, seven in ten used the tools at least once a quarter.
  • People who use healthcare transparency tools have high levels of satisfaction: Of those who report using transparency tools:
    • Eighty-seven percent believe insurance-provided price transparency tools help them make informed decisions
    • Eighty-three percent believe their insurance-provided tools help them better understand their coverage and benefits
    • Eighty-two percent believe their insurance-provided tools help them better manage their health care spending

HealthSparq conducted the survey of 1,013 U.S. residents, spanning ages 18 and over, through Hanover, a leading research firm, in January 2021.

To download the 2021 Annual Consumer Sentiment Benchmark: https://bit.ly/3viLNSl.

About HealthSparq

At HealthSparq, we help people make smarter healthcare choices by partnering with health plans to share cost and quality information about doctors, hospitals, medical services, and medications. Serving more than 80 million members across the country, we put people at the core of everything we do by conducting continuous usability testing, turning consumer research into product innovations, hosting industry panels featuring everyday people, and bringing human stories to the forefront through our #WTFix campaign. Using these insights, we create solutions to help people understand and navigate the healthcare system better than ever before.

Born inside a health plan in Portland, OR, we’ve been growing since our 2012 corporate founding. In 2021, we became part of Kyruus, the leader in provider search and scheduling solutions for health systems, to pursue a shared vision of connecting people to the right care. Contact us at HealthSparq.com or tweet us @HealthSparq.

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