KFF: Americans still cutting corners to avoid rising healthcare costs

6/18/2012

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Americans still are forgoing or delaying health care on account of the economy, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, which recently released its May Health Tracking Poll.



One in four Americans reported they have had problems paying medical bills in the past year, and as many as 60% said they have cut corners to avoid healthcare costs.



"The public is most likely to report relying on home remedies or over-the-counter drugs instead of going to see a doctor (38%) and skipping dental care or checkups (35%)," the report read. "Twenty‐nine percent report that because of the cost, they have postponed needed health care; 25% say they have skipped a recommended medical test or treatment; and a similar share (24%) did not fill a prescription for a medicine. Smaller shares report they cut

pills in half or skipped doses of medicine (16%) or had problems getting mental health care (8%) in the past year due to the cost."



And the general consensus is all could get worse before it gets better as healthcare costs continue to rise. Among Americans ages 18 to 64 years with private health insurance, about half (52%) reported that their health insurance premiums have been going up lately, and 28% said this has been a financial burden for them. In terms of deductibles and copayments, about 42% reported that these costs have been rising, and about half of that group said it’s a financial burden, the foundation noted.



When those ages 18 to 64 years with private health insurance are asked which form of healthcare costs personally cause the greatest financial burden, roughly equal shares said health insurance premiums (19%), the plan deductible (18%) and copayments for doctor visits and prescription drugs (16%), according to the report.


To download the report, click here.

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