Poll finds many Americans' health, finances still far from baseline due to pandemic

Even as COVID-19 infections begin to fall more than a year and a half into the pandemic, many Americans continue to face severe financial problems and disruptions to healthcare access, poll findings released Oct. 12 found. 

The findings are based on a survey conducted from Aug. 2 to Sept. 7. It was jointly led by researchers from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Boston-based Havard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and included a nationally representative sample of 3,616 adults. Questions focused on some of the most pressing issues U.S. households are experiencing related to their healthcare, finances, work, well-being and more. 

Seven findings: 

1. Thirty-eight percent of households report experiencing serious financial problems over the last few months, and households with lower annual incomes were more likely to report these problems. Fifty-nine percent of those with annual incomes below $50,000 reported serious financial problems, compared to 18 percent of those with incomes at or above $50,000. 

2. These problems persisted despite financial assistance from the government, with 67 percent of households reporting they had received federal assistance in recent months. 

3. Nineteen percent of U.S. households said they lost all of their savings during the COVID-19 pandemic and currently do not have savings to fall back on. 

4. About 18 percent of households said anyone in their household has been unable to access medical care for a serious problem in the last few months, with 76 percent of those reporting negative health outcomes as a result. 

5, Of the 18 percent who said they had difficulty accessing healthcare, 78 percent of households said they had health insurance while 22 percent did not. 

6. Forty-two percent of households said they used telehealth in the last few months. While 82 percent were satisfied with the experience, 64 percent still said they would have preferred an in-person visit. 

7. Among employed adults, 55 percent said their job situation was about the same as it was before the pandemic, while 24 percent said they had a worse job situation, and 21 percent rated their job situation as better than it was before COVID-19. 

To view the full poll findings, click here


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