Saturday, April 02, 2022

112 million Americans struggle to afford healthcare


 News Release 31-Mar-2022
High prices, low value -- Two new composite scores from West Health and Gallup illustrate America’s healthcare cost crisis
Reports and Proceedings
West Health Institute


An estimated 112 million (44%) American adults are struggling to pay for healthcare, and more than double that number (93%) feel that what they do pay is not worth the cost. The findings come from two new composite scores developed by the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization West Health and Gallup, the global analytics and advice firm, to assess the healthcare cost crisis.


National health spending is over $4 trillion in this country, and current projections indicate it will continue to grow at an annual rate of 5.4%, topping $6.2 trillion by 2028.

According to the Healthcare Affordability Index, respondents are considered “cost desperate” if they report experiencing three key financial challenges:

    Unable to pay for needed medical treatment over the prior three months.
    Skipped prescribed medication due to cost over the prior three months.
    Unable to afford quality care if it was needed today.

Those classified as “cost insecure” have one or two of these affordability challenges, while cost secure individuals report none of these challenges and are able to consistently access and pay for prescription medications and quality care.

Based on these classifications, 36% of Americans are "cost insecure," 8% are “cost desperate" and 56% are “cost secure.” The likelihood of being cost desperate is more than four times greater for those in households earning under $48,000 per year (13%) compared to those earning $90,000+ per year (3%). Men were more likely to be cost secure than women (60% to 53%) and Hispanic adults were less likely to be cost secure than their Non-Hispanic White counterparts (51% to 58%).

Over one-third (35%) of cost desperate adults report that they have cut back on utilities, and half have cut back on food in the past 12 months to pay for necessary healthcare, rates that are 10 times greater than their cost secure counterparts. Another 14% of this group know a friend or family member who has died in the last 12 months after not receiving treatment due to an inability to pay for it—double the rate of “cost insecure” individuals and seven times greater than “cost secure” individuals.  


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