In the past six months, higher healthcare costs have prompted 38% of US adults — an estimated 98 million Americans — to delay or delay healthcare treatments, cut routine spending, or borrow money to meet their medical expenses, according to one new study survey conducted by western health and Gallup.
Infographic: The patient’s financial journey
Study details and key results
For the study, West Health and Gallup surveyed 3,001 adults from all 50 states and the District of Columbia between June 2 and June 16. In June, healthcare inflation was 4.5%, half the overall national inflation rate.
Overall, 38% of respondents said they had taken one or more actions to reduce household spending due to rising healthcare costs, including delaying or skipping medical care or medication, driving less, cutting utility bills, skipping a meal, or borrowing money. Notably, 26% of people surveyed said they delayed or avoided medical care or bought prescription drugs because of higher healthcare costs.
Respondents in households earning less than $48,000 per year were even more likely to make financial compromises because of healthcare costs. For example, 62% of respondents from households with an annual income of less than $24,000 and 51% of respondents from households with an annual income between $24,000 and $48,000 have taken steps to cut household spending.
Financial compromises were most common among low-income households. However, 19% of respondents in households with annual incomes of $180,000 or more said they have taken steps to reduce overall spending due to higher healthcare costs. This finding underscores the burden of high healthcare costs for a broad segment of the population.
The survey also assessed how headline inflation is affecting American consumer behavior. Overall, 59% of respondents said they were driving less, 30% said they were cutting back on their utilities, and 21% said they had delayed or skipped medical care or prescription drugs.
The survey found that those who cut spending in areas other than health care, such as B. Grocery and utilities are also likely to cut healthcare spending.
For example, 59% of respondents who cut utility bills also cut medical care and prescription drugs. In addition, 71% of those who skipped a meal, 60% of those who borrowed money, 55% of those who drove less, and 51% of those who took one of these actions also cut back on medical care and prescription drugs.
“Inflation is eroding consumer spending habits in a number of areas,” said Dan Witters, senior researcher at Gallup. “What is found just below the surface is that after gas and groceries, the role of inflation in reducing long-term care is large and significant. And the rising cost of care itself, starting from an already high level, has an outsized impact on reducing other forms of spending, making the problem worse.
The survey also assessed Americans’ concerns about not being able to pay for the care they need in the next six months. Overall, 39% of respondents said they were “extremely concerned” or “concerned” about not being able to pay for care, including 33% of Democrats, 44% of Republicans and 42% of Independents.
High healthcare costs have disproportionately hit women and people of color. According to the survey, women are 17% more likely than men to worry about not being able to pay for caregiving, and black adults are 16% more likely than white adults to be concerned.
“People have been compromising to pay for health care for years. Inflation has only made things worse as people are now also struggling with high gas, food and electricity prices,” said Timothy Lash, President of West Health. (Melillo, “Changing America”, The hill, 8/5; Witters, Gallup, 8/4; West Health press release, 8/4)