- HealthSparq published Tuesday its 2015 Health Care Shopping Trends report, documenting shopping behaviors nationwide for routine medical services and major events.
- The report shows sometimes wide variations in what matters most to shoppers, depending on age, region, and season of the year.
- The data were collected from 237,000 people who searched for 523,000 cost estimates using HealthSparq’s online shopping tools.
People shop most for expensive medical procedures, like labor and delivery and circulatory conditions, according to the report. But they’re also shopping for everyday services like immunizations.
The top five healthcare costs people search for are labor and delivery; imaging and radiology; diagnostic/labs; colon health; and office visits.
Labor and delivery is the most searched term in the West and Northeast and number two in the South and Midwest, with searches peaking in July, August and November.
The report also shows higher search rates for colon health in Western states.
More women than men shop around before getting healthcare—62% versus 38%, respectively. They also tend to be young, between the ages of 25 and 44. Less than a quarter (22.3%) of those 55 and older are healthcare shoppers.
The hottest time for healthcare shopping is summer, with endocrinological conditions spiking 18% during the season. Searches for immunizations intensify in autumn, weight loss surgery and routine eye care get a bump in winter, and knee conditions and colon health are more popular in the spring.