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7 percent ready for healthcare costs

SAN FRANCISCO, June 19 (UPI) -- Gas prices may get most attention, but just 7 percent of U.S. adults are financially prepared for their future healthcare needs, a survey indicates.

"Healthcare costs have now approached one-fifth of the average household's spending, outpacing housing, food, clothing and transportation," Paul Keckley of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions says in a statement.

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The representative survey of more than 3,000 Americans was conducted by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions Sept. 10-23, 2007.

Ten percent of consumers are completely satisfied with their health plans. Seventy-eight percent would prefer to customize their insurance by selecting the benefits and features they value, rather than prepackaged options. Sixty-two percent of consumers say the ability to customize and choose benefits would have a strong influence on their choice of a health plan.

The survey also suggests:

-- 88 percent want in-home self-monitoring devices to reduce doctor visits.

-- 73 percent are interested in accessing information about quality or price from their health plan.

-- 78 percent would like online access to medical records and test results, 76 percent want e-mail communication with doctors and 72 percent want online scheduling.

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The survey has a margin of error of 1.8 percentage points and a 95 percent confidence level.

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