1-In-4 Families Don’t Seek Medical Attention Because Of Financial Worries

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With the latest reports suggesting that the American Health Care Act — a budget resolution intended to repeal and replace much of the Affordable Care Act — would leave more than 23 million consumers without insurance and facing higher out-of-pocket costs, it’s no surprise that consumers are a bit uneasy when it comes to their healthcare. In fact, a new survey suggests that in the face of rising costs, some families are foregoing medical care to save a few — or a few thousand — bucks. 

A new report from Bankrate found that 25% of Americans say in the last year someone in their household decided not to seek medical attention when it was needed simply because of the cost.

According to the survey, which analyzed 1,002 telephone interviews of adults living in the U.S. in May, older millennials — ages 27 to 32 — were the most likely to skip out on medical care, with nearly 32% — or 1-in-3 — saying they didn’t see a doctor when they should have.

A Washington, D.C., resident tells Bankrate that she was surprised by how expensive things can be even when you have insurance.

“Things like urgent care,” she says. “I’ve been able to pay out-of-pocket, but I thought insurance would cover more of it.”

About 25% of consumers between the ages of 37 and 52 didn’t seek medical attention, while 23% of adults between 53 and 71 years of age failed to visit a doctor because of possible costs.

“It’s very concerning that people are foregoing medical attention because of the expense,” Robin Saks Frankel, credit card analyst at Bankrate.com, said in a statement.

The concern uncovered by Bankrate echoes the findings in a recent survey from our colleagues at Consumer Reports.

According to that survey of 1,007 adults, concerns about healthcare have increased significantly in the last year. More than half (57%) of Americans said they lack confidence that they and their loved ones will be able to afford health insurance.

Part of the reason that some individuals have foregone medical care over cost worries is likely brought on by their lack of insurance, according to Bankrate, which found about 13% of respondents don’t have insurance.

But the concerns aren’t less for those who currently have health insurance, as keeping it is a big worry. More than 56% of consumers say they are worried they might not have affordable health insurance in the future.

One Maryland woman tells Bankrate that with proposed changes she’s worried she’ll have to pay more to keep her insurance.

“I don’t want to be paying more,” she said.

Of these consumers, Generation Xers are most concerned with 64% of people ages 37 to 52 worries, followed by baby boomers (58%), millennials (56%), and the silent generation (35%).

Consumers had the same worries in Consumer Reports’ survey, which found 41% of respondents are not confident that they will have access to the doctors, tests, treatments, and medications they need. That’s an increase from 35% in January when we first asked the question—a statistically significant jump.

As for individual preference on the future of healthcare, 43% of respondents say they prefer the current Affordable Care Act system to the proposed American Health Care Act.

No matter which healthcare policy is used, the Consumer Reports’ survey found a majority of Americans believe the government should do something. Nearly 78% of respondents said they believed the government should help make sure people have access to affordable, quality healthcare.