What healthcare leaders can learn from 3,700 patients on affording care they need

Eighteen percent of adults in the U.S. — about 46 million people — said if they needed access to quality healthcare today, they would not be able to afford it, a recent West Health and Gallup study found.

The study was conducted from Feb. 15-21, with 3,753 adults living in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Eight survey findings healthcare leaders should know:

  1. Twenty-nine percent of Black adults said they would not be able to afford quality healthcare today, followed by Hispanic adults (21 percent) and White adults (16 percent).

  2. Younger age groups reported higher difficulty affording healthcare. Twenty-seven percent of nonwhite adults ages 18 to 49 reported not being able to afford quality care today, followed by 26 percent of nonwhite adults ages 50 to 64 and 20 percent of white adults ages 18 to 49.

  3. In all income groups surveyed, respondents reported skipping healthcare treatment in the prior 12 months because of the expected cost of care. Thirty-five percent of respondents whose household income is under $24,000 annually said they skipped care, followed by those earning $24,000 to $48,000 (27 percent) and those earning $48,000 to $90,000 (19 percent).

  4. Even in households whose household income is above $180,000, 7 percent reported needing to skip healthcare because of the cost.

  5. Thirty-five percent of households said they reduced spending on recreational activities to afford paying for healthcare or medicine they need, followed by clothing (26 percent), food (12 percent), over-the-counter drugs (11 percent) and utilities (9 percent).

  6. Eighty-eight percent of respondents across political parties said they support setting caps on out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs in Medicare, including 97 percent of Democrats, 81 percent of Republicans and 83 percent of independent voters.

  7. Eighty-five percent of respondents said they support setting caps on out-of-pocket costs for general healthcare services in Medicare, including 96 percent of Democrats, 74 percent of Republicans and 80 percent of independent voters.

  8. Fifty-nine percent of respondents support expanding and strengthening the Affordable Care Act, including 98 percent of Democrats, 15 percent of Republicans and 51 percent of independent voters.

To read the full list of survey findings, click here.

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