2010 U.S. Survey of Health Care Consumers: Key Findings

Despite tough economy and ongoing health reform debate, consumers’ attitudes about health care system remain largely unchanged


Despite difficult economic times and the ongoing health care reform debate, consumers’ attitudes about the U.S. health care system remain largely unchanged from 2009 to 2010, according to the "2010 Survey of Health Care Consumers." In this third annual study, more than 4,000 Americans ages 18 and older were surveyed.

Survey findings reveal long-standing beliefs about the U.S. health care system drive the behaviors, attitudes and expectations of its consumers. 

Survey Highlights

  • 76 percent of consumers grade the system as “C” or below.
  • 48 percent believe that more than half of health care money is wasted.
  • Less than a quarter (23 percent) of consumers believes they understand how the health care system works.
  • 42 percent of consumers surveyed support government-required health insurance compared with 38 percent who say they are against it.
  • However, 42 percent say they would choose an employer-sponsored plan over the government’s (25 percent), all other factors being equal. Among the uninsured, a government-sponsored plan is favored (38 percent vs. 28 percent).
  • One in three consumers believes that the market needs 10 or more insurance companies competing to ensure consumer choice.
  • 7 out of 8 consumers believe themselves to be in "excellent," "very good" or "good" health yet, more than half (54 percent) have been diagnosed with one or more chronic conditions.
  • Only one in five (22 percent) participates in a wellness program.
  • A quarter (24 percent) of consumers remain confident about managing future health care costs, but of the people who skipped care when sick or injured, 4 out of 10 did so due to cost.
  • More consumers are seeking alternative or natural remedies before seeing a physician (17 percent in 2010 compared with 12 percent in 2009) and more consumers are supplementing their current regimes with alternative remedies (20 percent in 2010 vs. 16 percent in 2009).
  • One in five consumers rates their interest in accessing their health records by a secure Internet connection as high, would switch physicians to obtain access and would be very likely to use a mobile communication device to maintain them. However, only 10 percent report having a computerized personal health record (PHR).
  • 15 percent of all consumers say they used a retail clinic in the past 12 months.

Surveys Conducted in Six Countries

In tandem with this year’s U.S. study, Deloitte conducted a global survey, including consumers in France, Switzerland, Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom. The differences among countries are striking. For example, expectations drive satisfaction: Consumer expectations about the U.S. health care system are high. Of the six countries surveyed, U.S. consumers grade our system above Germany’s but below all the others.

Explore the findings from the 2010 Global Survey of Health Care Consumers.

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