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Americans Are Avoiding Medical Care Due To Costs

8 months, 4 weeks ago

5895  0
Posted on Aug 28, 2023, 3 p.m.

According to a random double opt-in survey of 2,000 general population Americans conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Assurance IQ, only 34% of the respondents said that they have visited their primary care physician in the past year, with 53% reporting that out-of-pocket expenses impacted their decision not to seek medical care when it was needed. Costs are even keeping away those with insurance, as 65% of those with insurance report not visiting their doctor in the past year.

The analysis revealed that 53% couldn’t figure out how much the visit was going to cost them, and 49% were not able to get to a medical facility, citing that lack of transportation, or not being able to afford to pay for a ride to the facility where they would need to go kept them from seeking medical attention. 28% are too busy and would rather wait until the problem is more urgent, 24% just don’t like going to the doctor, 16% have trouble getting prior authorization from their insurance, 12% worry about getting an expensive medical bill, and 10% don’t go because of the anticipated long wait times. 

However, costs are the major deterrent, with 49% of the respondents reporting that they are budgeting for out-of-pocket expenses, but there are differences among the generations. 54% of Gen Xers have a budget compared to only 39% of Baby Boomers. But regardless of having a budget or not, the majority of respondents feel that they will not have enough saved to cover expenses, and overall 51% of the respondents don’t plan for these costs at all. 

When it comes to insurance, 67% of the respondents with insurance feel that they know how their insurance plan works, with 71% of Gen Xers reporting feeling confident in their policy knowledge compared to only 48% of Gen Zs sharing that sentiment. Overall, 72% of the respondents know what is and what is not covered by their current insurance policy, with 78% of Gen Xers feeling well informed compared to only 53% of Gen Zs. 

When it comes to understanding healthcare in America, 32% of the respondents do not feel that they are informed about how the system works. 53% of the respondents feel like they could explain terms like preventative care, 29.5% said they could explain copayment or co-pay, 29% say they could explain what a deductible was, and 25% feel like they could explain out-of-pocket, limit, or maximum OOP to other people. But only 36% knew the difference between a Flexible Spending Account and a Health Savings Account, and only 35% knew what an FSA was. 

“Health insurance can be confusing to navigate, and our research shows this is especially true for younger people,” says consumer financial wellness advocate at Assurance IQ Kate Long, in a statement. “Many people end up enrolling in a plan where they don’t understand how much they will end up spending. Or a plan that doesn’t cover their unique needs. This can lead them to forgo critical care if it leads to an unexpected expense.”

49% of the respondents said that they are confident in the current American healthcare industry, but 43% reported that it could use some changes. 41% of the respondents said that the industry needs to encourage more people to use preventative care, 33% said that there needs to be increased access to quality insurance coverage, and 28% reported that the industry needs to eliminate the fee-for-service payment system. 

“For many, there are barriers to finding quality coverage,” adds Long. “Especially for those who don’t receive insurance through an employer. People often don’t know all the options available to them in terms of plans or financial subsidies, so they either go without or select a plan that doesn’t address their needs. Talking to a licensed insurance agent who asks the right questions can make the process much easier.”

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.

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