Still Searching: How Texans Use Health Care Price Information

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Texans, like many Americans, bear a significant share of their health care costs in the form of high deductibles and insurance premiums, as well as copayments and, sometimes, coinsurance. Health care systems in the United States have historically not made it easy for people to find out how much their care will cost them. In 2016, Texas was one of 43 states that received a grade of “F” from Catalyst for Payment Reform for their price transparency laws. There has been little recent price transparency legislation in Texas, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which documents state actions in health and other policy areas. Texas runs a website that aggregates some types of financial data from insurers, but that website does not provide Texans with information about how much they have to pay out of pocket for specific services or providers. Efforts are underway, however, to improve it. The state does not currently have an all-payer claims database, a crucial building block of price transparency, but is reportedly considering whether and how to develop one. In this landscape of limited price transparency, this research explores Texans’ behaviors, attitudes and perspectives related to health care price information.

Findings are based on a representative survey of 808 adults in Texas and a nationally representative survey of 2,062 U.S. adults, conducted from July through September 2016 by telephone, including cell phones, and online.

Public Agenda conducted this research with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. These surveys were conducted in conjunction with representative surveys in three additional states: New York, Florida and New Hampshire. (2017)

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