Americans borrowed $88B last year to pay for healthcare, survey finds

Rising healthcare costs are creating a financial burden for Americans, as they borrowed an estimated $88 billion in the last 12 months to cover these expenses, according to a new survey from West Health and Gallup.

The survey findings, published in a report, "The U.S. Healthcare Cost Crisis," examined how the public views the U.S. healthcare system, people's healthcare choices, and the effects healthcare costs have on personal finances. They are based on a nationally representative survey of 3,537 American adults, conducted in January and February.

Six other findings:

1. Forty-five percent of respondents reported concerns of bankruptcy if a major health event occurs.

2. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said they are concerned rising healthcare costs will lead to significant and lasting economic damage.

3. Forty-one percent of respondents reported forgoing an emergency room visit due to cost in the last 12 months.

4. Along party lines, 27 percent of Democrat respondents and 21 percent of Republican respondents deferred care due to cost in the last 12 months.

5. Despite the financial fears and deferring treatment, most respondents (64 percent) said they are "completely" or "mostly" satisfied with their personal experiences with the U.S. healthcare system. However, that number declined to 39 percent when respondents took into account how well the system is serving people generally.

6. Overall, 76 percent of respondents agreed their healthcare costs are too high relative to the quality of care they receive.

Access the full survey results here.


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