Effect of co-payment on behavioral response to consumer genomic testing

Transl Behav Med. 2018 Jan 29;8(1):130-136. doi: 10.1093/tbm/ibx057.


Existing research in consumer behavior suggests that perceptions and usage of a product post-purchase depends, in part, on how the product was marketed, including price paid. In the current study, we examine the effect of providing an out-of-pocket co-payment for consumer genomic testing (CGT) on consumer post-purchase behavior using both correlational field evidence and a hypothetical online experiment. Participants were enrolled in a longitudinal cohort study of the impact of CGT and completed behavioral assessments before and after receipt of CGT results. Most participants provided a co-payment for the test (N = 1668), while others (N = 369) received fully subsidized testing. The two groups were compared regarding changes in health behaviors and post-test use of health care resources. Participants who paid were more likely to share results with their physician (p = .012) and obtain follow-up health screenings (p = .005) relative to those who received fully subsidized testing. A follow-up online experiment in which participants (N = 303) were randomized to a "fully-subsidized" versus "co-payment" condition found that simulating provision of a co-payment significantly increased intentions to seek follow-up screening tests (p = .050) and perceptions of the test results as more trustworthy (p = .02). Provision of an out-of-pocket co-payment for CGT may influence consumer's post-purchase behavior consistent with a price placebo effect. Cognitive dissonance or sunk cost may help explain the increase in screening propensity among paying consumers. Such individuals may obtain follow-up screenings to validate their initial decision to expend personal resources to obtain CGT.

Keywords: Direct-to-consumer genetics; Genomics; Health economics; Patient decision-making; Precision medicine; Price placebo effect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Deductibles and Coinsurance*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Genetic Testing / economics*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care