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Study: Consumers want more control over health care, but don't know where money will come from after retirement

Altarum Institute releases results of semi-annual survey

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Ninety percent of people today want to have a say in important decisions regarding their health care, but only a small percentage are certain they'll have the recommended amount of savings needed to cover health expenses after retirement, according to a new study.

The results are from an ongoing series of semiannual surveys conducted by the Altarum Institute's Center for Consumer Choice in Health Care, which collect information on consumer beliefs and preferences about health care.

The 2013 Altarum Institute Survey of Consumer Health Care Opinions found that one-third of respondents would like to make a shared decision with their doctor, while 43% want to make the final decision with some professional input and 16% prefer to be completely in charge of their medical decisions. Still, only 5% are certain they will have enough savings after retirement, meaning that retirement is an area where healthcare planning is lacking, and 80% are unsure or unlikely to have enough money set aside by then, though most are comfortable approaching their doctors about the cost of healthcare services.

"It's a positive sign that people are open to asking their doctors about costs and involving themselves in their healthcare decisions," CCCHC director and study author Wendy Lynch said. "But overall, the study shows that people still have their head in the sand when it comes to what they think they can control. They have more power than they realize just by asking questions; now, they just need to use it."

 

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