This Is How Much It Saves You: Building a Culture of Health Through Price Disclosure

Project Summary

In the U.S. healthcare system, patients often have no access to information about the original cost of medical services. The investigators tested whether disclosing information on the original cost of preventive care increased its perceived value and led to increased adoption of such services. Their research focused on four preventive healthcare services that generate substantial health benefits for targeted populations: 1) flu vaccination for insured adults under 65, 2) nutritional counseling for insured patients with diabetes, 3) regular dental checkups for insured patients who under-utilize dental checkups, and 4) annual wellness visits for insured patients who under-utilize wellness visits.

Research Question(s)

  • Does disclosure of original cost and price savings information for preventive care services motivate consumers to adopt these services?
  • Is disclosure of original cost and price savings information more effective than typical health-focused messaging for preventive care services?
  • Will low-income patients show greater sensitivity to original-cost and discount focused messaging than high-income individuals?
  • Does disclosing original cost and price savings information have an even greater advantage over typical health-focused messaging among patients with lower health literacy?


  • Inform development of public health campaigns by non-profits, insurers, government entities, and others, and whether or not inclusion of marketing tools promote uptake of preventive care.


Self-report of receiving flu vaccination, number of nutritional consultation appointments made and completed, number of dental exam appointments made and completed, and number of wellness screenings completed


The researchers conducted randomized control trials to investigate impact on each healthcare service. They used ANOVAs to look for main effects and interactions of the proposed interventions. Moderation analysis was conducted to identify how income level impacted the effectiveness of the cost-disclosure intervention, as well as how health literacy moderated the effectiveness of original-cost disclosure vs. traditional health-focused messaging. Additionally, the data was analyzed using regression to identify any effects of age, gender, income, race, and health status on the main outcome measure (intentions to adopt the preventive behavior) in each study.

Grantee and Partner organizations

Indiana University
University of Colorado at Denver
Fleming Family Dentistry & Aesthetics
Healthy IU

Grant status
Principal investigators
Helen Colby, PhD
Meng Li, PhD
Start date
Award amount
18 months

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