Apparently, borrowers who obtained a home loan in the last five years spent five hours researching a mortgage, half the amount of time they spent researching a car and the same amount of time they spent researching a vacation, according to a study reported in The New York Times on Saturday.
Given the number of folks that signed up for all those risky home financing options and according to the survey sponsors, this is apparently not enough time for people to go through the steps necessary to make sure they are getting the best mortgage.
Contrast this with the fact that only 5-10 percent of us have even considered using objective information to make sure we are choosing the best doctor or hospital or health plan, if we have a choice among them.
It is as though the shopping is a process that we simply don't apply to our decisions about health care providers. Part of the problem is, of course, that despite consistent media coverage, only about one-third of us understand that the quality of health care varies widely. And then there is that pesky problem of the lack of relevant and accessible comparable information on any of these topics, especially on physicians, meaning that if we want to do the research, trustworthy information often simply doesn't exist. But even so, we tend to trust word-of-mouth recommendations over available objective information.
I was especially bemused by one of the comments in response to the Times blog: Why is this a surprise to anyone? You USE a car. You USE a house. That's what you spend the time shopping for. You don't USE a mortgage. The mortgage or the car financing is just the means to get it. You can't put the top down on the mortgage and drive it around.
We USE health care. But it seems that many of us have yet to approach obtaining it with the careful, critical eye we use to get the best deal on a trip to Disney World.