Despite an overall lack of confidence in managed care, many Americans are willing to accept traditional managed-care restrictions, such as required referrals and preauthorization, in exchange for lower costs, according to a survey published online by Health Affairs. Only 30% of 2,000 adults surveyed said they believed managed care could control healthcare costs without hurting quality of care. Still, many indicated a willingness to make trade-offs, depending on their health and ability to pay. Only 27% and 35% of respondents, respectively, said they were willing to accept higher deductibles or higher premiums in exchange for fewer restrictions on services.
Some 54% of respondents said they thought required substitution of less costly drugs was a good or very good idea, 52% felt the same about referrals, and 43% supported prior authorization for costly services. Paying bonuses to doctors who keep down costs was the least popular cost-containment measure, with only 30% of respondents supporting the practice and 66% calling it a bad or very bad idea. "The managed-care backlash is easing up, probably because consumers are feeling the pinch of rising costs themselves," said Claudia Schur, co-author of the study and a principal research scientist with the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. Read the report. -- by Laura B. Benko