Listening to people on health care

KEY SUMMARY: People are very concerned about health care and don’t feel that Washington is going to be any help.  Although they are aware of high drug prices they don’t blame pharma for the high cost of medical care.

The last week and a half was pent listening to people talk about health care in research for a new startup.  There were 24 groups in all in 5 different cities and they comprised people from all demographic groups.  Here are the top line findings:

1ne: The biggest concern among all demographic groups is the division within the country and the polarization of politics. The biggest “personal” concern is health care (costs).

2wo: People within the groups who had either recently been in a hospital or had to go to the doctor for a health issue complained about the time it took to learn what was wrong and the excess of tests they felt were unnecessary like MRI’s or CAT scans.

3hree: Everyone said they are paying more for their health insurance, including insurance under the ACA. In most cases the increased costs of health insurance negated any raise they received.

4our: They are aware of the media reports around high drug prices, but they feel the cost increases of generic drugs and their co-pays is not being talked about enough.

5ive: When asked about the high cost of cancer drugs the vast majority said “it would be worth it” but when the moderator asked them about a potential co-pay of close to $100,000 for certain drugs they were more than surprised. As one woman said “my co-pay could wipe out my whole retirement!”.

6ix: Most are happy with their insurance companies, but there was a rising concern about being prescribed certain drugs only to have their insurers say “no” or switch them to another brand.

7even: When it comes to the concern over “fake health news” most said that their online health searches required more time and that they often sought the advice of others to help them sort through information.

8ight: Online health seekers will use social media in the information gathering stage but they don’t really trust the information to make a health care decision. 

9ine: Pharma companies are virtually invisible in helping them research health information.

10en: While some pharma companies had contacted patients about treatment with their products the majority of people said that the pharma’s company only concern seemed to be “selling them the drug”.  Someone talked about being contacted by a “patient coordinator” who she found out was not even an employee of the pharma company.

In al my years of leading and sitting in on research I have never heard so many people express concern/fear about the cost of their health care.  It’s likely to influence their choices in the upcoming elections and they are frustrated that their voices aren’t being heard.  

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