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Top Health Care Issues For 2012

Jan 25th, 2012

Health care issuesAmericans are choosing affordable health care over economic recovery this year, a survey revealed.

According to the Health Research Institute Survey conducted by PwC, 42% of the 1,000 U.S.-based respondents would rather get more affordable health care than experience an economic rebound. The survey shows Americans are still concerned about the deficit and the economic state during this election season, but health care issues still rank higher.

The survey also revealed that in 2011, almost half of the respondents did not seek treatment or opted not to get a prescription drug at least once due to prohibitive costs.

Furthermore, 43% of those that have insurance deferred care at least once in 2011, while 20% deferred care at least three times.

With the continued rise in health care costs and increasing backlash from consumers, 2012 could be the start of a significant change in how people would like to access health care.

The survey also showed that 52% of the respondents are willing to purchase value-based insurance plans, these plans work by charging a lower cost for proven treatments, and charge a higher cost for unproven ones. Another possible trend: integrated care in which a single organization will provide medical care, insurance, and pharmacy benefits instead of different organizations handling each of these elements.

Almost 50% of those surveyed prefer a lower-cost health plan with a limited number of hospitals and doctors to choose from.

Although respondents value privacy and think that it should be a concern, 60% are fine with having their data shared among health care providers to facilitate coordination of care.

With patients clamoring for health care organizations to share health data, PwC expects that in 2012, more companies will be investing in health informatics and form data sharing groups to improve patient treatment, coordinate care, and also identify health trends.

Health insurance exchanges, which is expected to launch in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act, appears to be popular among those familiar with the model. Health insurance exchanges is designed to provide consumers and small businesses with a marketplace to easily find health coverage.

More than 50% of those who know about this concept believe that they can conveniently find and purchase health plans through the exchanges. Also, 41% of the same group said that insurance companies who decide not to join the state’s health insurance exchange will be looked at less favorably. More than 25% of respondents said they need to know more about health insurance exchanges to form an opinion.

Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube will play major roles in fulfilling the health organizations goals to improve care and outcome in 2012. The survey shows that 32% utilize social media sites to keep in touch with other organizations or with people who have similar interests.

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