NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Americans may need to be pinching pennies post-recession, but they’re willing to pay for costly medical tests under most circumstances.
According to a survey conducted by Tufts Medical Center, roughly 76% of people indicated that they would take a hypothetical test to find out if they will later develop Alzheimer’s, arthritis, breast cancer or prostate cancer. On average, participants said they were willing to pay $300 to $600 for the test, depending on the disease in question and the test’s overall accuracy.
"While we have to proceed cautiously in this area, given that tests have costs and risks as well as benefits, our study suggests that many people value information, both for its own sake and because they will adjust lifestyle and behavior choices accordingly, " Peter J. Neumann, lead author of the study, said in a press release.
The findings are based on answers from 1,463 adults who were asked in an online survey if they would take a hypothetical predictive blood test for one of the four aforementioned diseases. Researchers specified that the test would not be covered by their insurance and, as such, participants were also asked how much they would be willing to pay for a test themselves. They were also asked to provide information on their socioeconomic status, personal health record, risk attitudes and behaviors.
Answers varied for many reasons, most significantly depending on the severity of the illness being measured. Broken down test by test, 87% of male respondents said they would pay to be screened for prostate cancer. Eighty-one percent of female respondents felt the same way about a breast cancer test. Seventy-nine percent would test for arthritis and 72% would check for Alzheimer’s disease. Similarly, participants would pay the most for the prostate cancer test (on average $600) and the least for the arthritis test ($300).
Responses weren’t only influenced by the severity of the measured disease, though.