How Likley Are Consumers to Change Health Care Providers When Given the Choice?

by Phillip J. Bergquist, CHCEF, Manager of Health Center Operations, CHIPRA Project Director, Michigan Primary Care Association

I recently came across some thought-provoking research based upon the results of a statewide survey of low-income adults (less than 200% federal poverty level) performed in California. The survey provided some very interesting insights on how families might take advantage of the expanded access to care provided through health reform.

Here are a few of the “highlights” that I found particularly interesting:

  • More than 40% of the people surveyed said they had no choice in where they go for health care because their current provider is the only one they can afford.
  • Among those who do have a choice, just 12% said the least expensive option drove their decision. This is an indication that, in the ACA-inspired future, competition for patients will be based on more than cost alone.
  • Generally, 58% of those surveyed expressed interest in changing facilities if they had the insurance to do so, that rate was slightly higher at 64% among Health Center patients.
  • Only a third of survey participants indicated the cost of care was their primary factor in choosing a health care provider, another third said the ability to see the same doctor each time was most important; the rest divide between the convenience of the facility and short waiting times.
  • 63% said facilities that offer a range of additional services beyond regular medical care would be extremely or very important to them in choosing a new place for care.

There are many more insights contained in the report, which can be read online.

While this data has limited direct applicability given its geographic base in California, it does illustrate important questions Health Centers here in Michigan should be asking and general trouble areas we may need to look out for as 2014 draws closer!


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