News & Commentary

Most consumers see no link between price, quality

A lot depends on how you frame the question, say researchers at the University of California–San Francisco. “For example, people are more unhappy about losing $100 than they are elated about winning $100,” they say in a study in April’s Health Affairs. Responses by 2,010 adults to four questions about the relationship between quality and prices were analyzed. Depending on the question, between 58% and 71% did not make an association between price and health care quality. On the other hand, 21% to 24% of consumers did make that association, and researchers said that their concerns must be addressed. “If comparing prices cause people to perceive that price and quality are associated, then developers of transparency initiatives must grapple with the question of whether that perception is justified, and how to address the perception if it is justified or counter it if it is not.”

Answers vary with how the question is asked

Source: Phillips KA et al., Health Affairs, April 2016

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