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Monday, May 13, 2013

One-third of patients willing to switch doctors to save on health insurance

About a third of consumers would switch doctors to reduce health insurance costs, if the price were right, according to a new survey by HealthPocket, a website that compares and ranks health plans.

Almost 19 percent said they would do so for the lowest amount of savings presented by the survey -- $500 to $1,000 a year. Eight percent said they would switch to save $1,000 to $2,000, and 7.5 percent said they would switch for annual savings of $3,000 or more.

About 42 percent said they would not switch doctors to save health plan costs, and about 24 percent said they did not have a regular doctor.

For consumers shopping for health insurance, a key factor is whether their doctors participate in health plan networks. Under pressure to control costs, some insurers are limiting the size of their provider networks to negotiate lower rates to health care providers in exchange for larger volumes of patients, HealthPocket noted.

"Our poll found that while some consumers feel strongly about keeping their current physician, many others are surprisingly open to moving around based on cost," Steve Zaleznick, executive director for consumer strategy and development at HealthPocket, said in a press statement. "Regardless of what happens with the [Affordable Care Act] in terms of health care premiums, consumers will need to investigate their options to find ways to save money and determine whether their current doctor will still be covered under the plan they want."

HealthPocket recently launched a new physician search tool to compare health plans their doctors may access.

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