Nearly one-fifth of Americans forgoing care due to costs

Healthcare costs are the reason millions of Americans go without new clothing, over-the-counter drugs, leisure activities and sometimes the care altogether, according to a study released March 31 by Gallup and West Health, a nonprofit focused on lowering healthcare costs for older people.

The study, conducted Feb. 15-21, surveyed 3,753 Americans ages 18 and older. Below are five notable findings:

  1. Thirty-five percent of respondents from households with an annual income below $24,000 reported forgoing care in the past year, compared with 7 percent among households earning below $180,000 per year.

  2. Eighteen percent of respondents reported they would not be able to pay for healthcare if they needed it.

  3. The study found healthcare unaffordability among 29 percent of Black respondents, 21 percent of Latinx respondents and 16 percent of white respondents. For adults ages 65 and older, 16 percent of non-white respondents reported not being able to afford their healthcare and 8 percent of white respondents reported the same.

  4. Eighteen percent of respondents reported someone in their household skipping care due to unaffordability in the past year.

  5. Thirty-five percent of respondents said they have to spend less on recreational or leisure activities due to healthcare unaffordability, 26 percent reported having to spend less on clothing, 12 percent reported having to spend less on groceries and 11 percent reported having to spend less on over-the-counter drugs.

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