If healthcare ever made it to television on "The Price Is Right," it would be a comedy of errors.
Despite rising copays and deductibles aimed at making the insured more price-conscious, most healthcare consumers still missed widely--both high and low--when asked to individually price a basket of 11 healthcare products and services, according to a recent survey conducted by a Harris Interactive Health-Care Poll for the Wall Street Journal.
Consumers got closest to the average actual costs of ambulance rides and office visits to primary-care physicians. They bid on average $476 for an ambulance trip, while the average cost was $550, a 13% underestimate, according to the pollster, and said the cost of an office visit on average was $97 when the average was $80, a 21% overestimate.
The widest variances were high by 355% for birth via C-section, with a $6,145 average consumer estimate vs. a $1,350 average actual cost, and low by 71% for an overnight stay in the hospital, estimated by consumers at an average of $1,058 with an actual average cost of $3,600, according to Harris.
The poll was conducted online from June 24-28 from a nationwide sample of 2,366 adults. Full results of the poll are available at the Harris Interactive Web site.