Americans’ Confidence in Their Ability to Pay for Healthcare Is Falling Rapidly — Especially for Women
NEW YORK — August 11, 2018
A new survey by Bankrate finds that 59 percent named health care as their top concern for the government.
The survey allows Americans to name up to five priorities and found a wide range of top concerns, including taxes, immigration, and the environment. But aside from rising costs of the health, no single issue was named by more than 25 percent, and 7 in 10 of those who named it as a top problem said they had little to no confidence that government can improve matters.
Democrats have typically worried more than Republicans about the issue, including a 72% to 39% difference last year. However, the party groups were nearly equally likely to worry about it between 2015 and 2017, after major provisions of the Affordable Care Act went into effect.
The rising cost of health insurance is a common fact, and now, efforts to undercut protections for pre-existing conditions and the Affordable Care Act writ large have left many financially insecure and worried over what the future may bring.
Millions of Americans households need medical care but have been unable to afford it due to rising costs. 41 percent of those who sought out care were surprised at how expensive their bill turned out to be, and most of them believe they won’t have access to affordable coverage in the years to come. 22 percent of respondents said they, or someone in their home, has refused medical attention because they were too concerned with the cost.
About one in three U.S. adults said they were 'very concerned' about losing benefits from government-run programs Medicare and Medicaid. A sixth of respondents with this health insurance program said they eschewed care. 29 percent of respondents had bought insurance in the private market through a public exchange set up by the Affordable Care Act, and 22 percent of workers with the help of employer-sponsored insurance.
Three in 10 of those without insurance avoided going to the doctor when they needed to, and just 8 percent of total respondents said they did not have insurance at all.
Those involved in accidents or with medical emergencies had to pay an unexpected $1,000 emergency fee in cash. About 36 percent of respondents said they had to go into debt to maintain their living standards. There were also people who were not worried at all.
Despite employer assistance, expenses have increased due to the kinds of insurance available. People and their employers are equally concerned over health insurance and its associated costs in the future. The concern is likely over future employees' premiums. Bankrate’s survey also show that women are more concerned than men over health insurance and the associated costs.
The study shows that women are more concerned than men about this issue.
- A quarter of women (compared with 18 percent of men) say they or a relative avoided the doctor because over cost concerns.
- 47 percent of women (compared with 35 percent of men) paid a bill that turned out to be more expensive than they thought.
- 57 percent of women (compared with 51 percent of men) are worried they might not have affordable insurance in the future.
- Women have been also particularly vulnerable to GOP efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare with a piece of legislation that may not cover pre-existing conditions.
Four in 5 workers have a plan with a deductible, the amount you pay before your insurer picks up the tab, with the average for a single person $1,505, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
According to a recent study from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, people (especially men) who face high out-of-pocket costs often forgo treatment for serious issues like kidney stones.
It is also known, that ninety-one percent of respondents said it was very or somewhat important to bar insurers from denying coverage because of a person’s medical history, and 89 percent said insurers shouldn’t be allowed to charge people more because they are already sick.
The Trump administration’s decision to stop defending the law against a legal challenge that claims these regulations are unconstitutional may only add to these voters’ concern.
Many are now asking themselves what to do.
Experts first advice is to build an emergency fund in a high-yielding savings account.
- So, six months’ worth of emergency expenses is in the ballpark of $20,000 for an average family. Average income households aren’t anywhere close, holding a median amount of less than $4,000, per Federal Reserve data," they say.
- Then automate a portion of your paycheck into a savings account you don’t touch. Toss in any extra cash that comes your way, from a bonus to a tax refund.
- Take advantage of free preventive services, which most plans must cover. These services range from diet counseling for adults at risk for a chronic disease to interventions to thwart your tobacco addiction.#healthcare
Make sure all of your providers, from your primary care physician to specialists to your ER, are in your plan’s network. And when your doctor prescribes a medication, don’t be afraid to ask how much it costs, and if it’s too pricey, ask if for a cheaper generic alternative.