Seventy-six percent of respondents to a recent survey believe their health care costs increased in the past year and nearly half of Baby Boomers said their costs drastically rose.

Nearly 40 percent of Americans do not understand their medical bills or explanation of benefit statements, according to survey results. Mountain View, Calif.-based Intuit Inc., vendor of the Quicken Health financial management software, commissioned the online survey. Decipher Research, Fresno, Calif., conducted the survey. Other findings include:

* Seventy percent of respondents are worried about managing their medical bills--23 percent cannot afford to pay them and 31 percent have let a bill go to a collection agency;

* Fifty-seven percent still pay medical bills by paper check despite increased usage of online bill paying services; and

* Seventy-two percent would use online tools to pay bills, send messages to physicians, make appointments and get lab results. Eighty-four percent would fill out forms online prior to an appointment if that option were available.

--Joseph Goedert


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