1 in 3 would defer COVID-19 care to avoid medical bills, survey finds

Thirty-five percent of Americans said they would delay care for COVID-19 to avoid the stress of medical bills, according to a survey results released Dec. 16 by patient financial engagement company VisitPay.

The survey, conducted Nov. 10-13, garnered responses from 1,661 U.S. adults to gauge the country's attitudes about medical bill-related stress during the pandemic. Here are five other notable findings:

  1. Sixty-one percent of respondents said the current recession has had a more negative effect on their family's finances than the 2008 recession.

  2. Sixty percent of respondents reported medical bills as their top source of financial stress.

  3. Thirty-nine percent of respondents reported being more worried about the financial burden associated with contracting COVID-19 than contracting the disease in the first place.

  4. Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they fund their medical bills with credit cards. Of these respondents, 75 percent finance medical bills via credit over several months, with their bills compounding over time.

  5. Respondents' top medical bill-related frustrations are surprise costs (31 percent), confusion about the amount their insurance is paying (20 percent) and unclear charges and dates (18 percent).

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