40% of patients skip treatment because of cost: 7 survey findings

The cost of healthcare has placed serious financial burden on more than half of Americans, according to a recent poll from NORC at the University of Chicago and the West Health Institute.

For the survey, NORC and West Health Institute asked 1,300 adults in February how they felt about healthcare costs, and how those expenses affected their medical decisions.

Here are seven findings from the study.

1. Thirty-six percent of respondents said they used up all or most of their savings due to healthcare expenses. In comparison, 32 percent said they borrowed money due to the cost of healthcare, while 41 percent said they put money intended for savings toward healthcare.

2. In the past year, roughly 40 percent of respondents said they skipped treatment or a medical test because of cost. Another 44 percent said they didn't go to a physician when they were ill or hurt due to cost.

3. Nearly three-fourths of respondents don't think the cost of U.S. healthcare means better value.

4. During the past year, almost a third (30 percent) of respondents said they had to choose between paying for food, heating, or housing and healthcare.

5. Respondents feared medical bills associated with a serious illness more than the illness itself: 40 percent versus 33 percent, respectively. 

6. About a third of respondents said they didn't fill a prescription, or took less than was recommended by a physician, to save money.

7. Within the last year, more than 25 percent of respondents said their medical bill was handed over to a collection agency.

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