Surprise Medical Bills: Consumers Rarely Get Up-Front Estimates of Medical Costs, According to eHealth Survey
The survey of consumers who purchased Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage at eHealth was conducted on a voluntary basis in
- Most consumers do not get an up-front estimate of costs: A majority (58%) said they are "rarely" or "never" given an up-front estimate of costs before receiving medical care.
- Most have to ask for cost estimates: Of those who received estimates, 70% had to ask their medical care provider for the estimate; 30% were offered an estimate without asking.
- Final costs often exceed estimates that are given: 44% of those given an up-front cost estimate said their final costs exceeded that estimate.
- Medical providers and insurers may help to reduce final costs: Among those not required to pay the full bill, 47% said the medical provider agreed to accept a lower payment; 35% said their insurer helped to negotiate a lower charge.
- Few have the savings to meet their annual deductible: 36% say they have paid out a full annual deductible at least once, but 56% say they have
$2,000or less in savings, while the average individual deductible for ACA coverage is $4,320.
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