Deloitte survey: Consumers say they pay too much for medical care, question their ability to handle future medical costs
New York, 6 April 2010 – Consumers in six Western countries say their medical costs are too high and share concerns about their ability to meet future financial demands resulting from health care costs, a new survey by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions (Deloitte Services LP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP in the U.S.) reveals.
The results of the 2010 survey of global health care consumers indicate that the majority of consumers in the Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States do not understand their health care systems. The perceived performance of each system varies widely from country to country, with the French and Swiss rating their systems highest overall.
“Consumer satisfaction with a population system of care is based on expectations,” said Paul Keckley, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. “In the United States, expectations are quite dissimilar from those of the French and others, posing incredible challenges to policy-makers seeking system change.”
The survey is the first comprehensive global study of health care attitudes, behaviors, and unmet needs of consumers globally. The findings show that consumer satisfaction or discontent is not always a reflection of a particular national system. For example, the French and Swiss systems are different structurally and in terms of funding, yet respondents in both countries are generally happy with their care.
“This survey presents a framework within which to study and contrast views across health systems and geographic borders, and, in the long-term, provides a basis from which to understand how policy changes affect consumer preferences and opinions,” observed Dean Arnold, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Healthcare Industry Leader.
Overall, many consumers admit they aren't healthy enough, don't participate in wellness programs, and are wary of technological advances that might better connect them to their doctors, insurers and other industry stakeholders. Satisfaction with primary care physicians and hospitals is high and extends across all survey borders. Two in three respondents overall believe they are adequately insured, the survey found.
As part of its study, the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions surveyed 1,000 consumers apiece in Germany, Switzerland, France and the United Kingdom. The Canadian survey was built from interviews with 2,304 people, while the United States results were collected from 4,001 participants. The surveyed countries have a mix of public and private health care systems; the U.S. percentage of health care as a proportion of gross domestic product is the highest, at 16 percent.
The survey was conducted across six discrete zones of health care consumerism – wellness and healthy living, traditional health services, alternative health services, information resources, health insurance and health policy.
Other key findings:
Keckley said health care leaders and government officials can use the survey data to build better, more adaptive systems that raise the quality bar while containing costs. “These findings suggest to us significant opportunity for innovation across all borders, by leveraging industry relationships with government leaders and building on the public's trust and positive support of its system,” he said.
The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions study identified three areas in particular that should receive the attention of political leaders, regulators, and industry stakeholders:
Additional country reports
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