Nearly 1 in 3 Americans Shunned Medical Care in Past 3 Months Due to Cost - Poll
15:27 GMT 14.12.2021 (Updated: 16:03 GMT 14.12.2021)
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Rising US healthcare costs have caused almost one in three Americans to refuse necessary medical care in the past three months, which is the greatest share since the onset of the coronvairus pandemic, a new poll by West Health and Gallup revealed on Tuesday.
"Nearly one-third (30%) of Americans skipped needed medical care in the past three months due to cost, the highest reported number since the COVID-19 pandemic began and a threefold increase from March to October", the survey said.
The changing approach to the necessity of medical care affected all social groups including those who have a sufficient financial cushion. "Even about 20% of the nation's highest-income households — those earning more than $120,000 per year — blame cost as the reason for not seeking care, up from 3% over the same timeframe", the poll added.
About 100 million Americans describe the nation's healthcare system as "expensive" or "broken".
"An estimated 150 million Americans (59%) say they are now more worried about the cost of healthcare services and 45% are more worried about the cost of prescription drugs", the poll noted.
More than half of the participants recognised that high costs for medical care bring "some" or a lot of stress to their everyday lives, it added.
Three-quarters of Black Americans and over two-thirds of the Hispanic population expressed concerns over growing inequities in healthcare. In particular, Blacks two times more often than whites said they knew someone who died during the pandemic after not receiving treatment owing to cost, the survey noted.
"Americans have reached their breaking point", Shelley Lyford, president and CEO of nonprofit West Health, said. "Between March and October, the percentage of people reporting trouble paying for healthcare, skipping treatments, and not filling their prescriptions spiked to their highest levels since the pandemic began, exacerbating another public health threat borne out of cost rather than illness".
The new poll was conducted from 27-30 September and 18-21 October among 6,663 American adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.