Cover: Informing Consumers about Health Care Costs

Informing Consumers about Health Care Costs

A Review and Research Agenda

Published 1985

by M. Susan Marquis, David E. Kanouse, Laurel Brodsley


Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 4.2 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 Format Price
Add to Cart Paperback92 pages $25.00

Many proposals for containing health care costs emphasize the importance of strengthening consumers' financial incentives to shop for low-cost providers or choose efficient health plans. The success of this strategy hinges on consumers' ability to make informed choices. Programs that provide consumers with information that will help them compare providers and health plans may enhance price competition, but will cost something as well. To compare the costs and benefits, it is necessary to consider the extent to which increased information is likely to alter consumers' behavior. To do this, the authors review existing theoretical and empirical research and describe the results of an informal survey of public and private initiatives that are under way to inform consumers about health care costs. They examine the potential effect of hospital price information on patients' choices under strategies of increased patient cost-sharing. They also examine the efforts of private group purchasers to acquire and use information about hospital prices, and analyze the potential role of information in encouraging beneficiaries to select efficient health plans. Finally, they discuss implications for the Medicare program and propose an agenda for future research.

This report is part of the RAND report series. The report was a product of RAND from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.