Health care costs are making Americans sicker and poorer: report


For Americans, paying for health care is often a struggle, even for those with health insurance, with many people saying they struggle to afford rising premiums, deductibles, co-pays and other medical costs.

Just over half of working-age Americans say they sometimes can’t afford health care, according to Commonwealth Fund. About 4 in 10 workers with employer-sponsored insurance or who are on Medicaid say they have trouble paying, while that rises to about 6 in 10 for people who buy coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces, the survey found.

By comparison, three-quarters of people without insurance report problems getting care, according to the advocacy group, which promotes health care equity.

Nearly two in five, or 38%, of insured Americans reported delaying or skipping needed treatment or medication because of high out-of-pocket health care costs. Rising medical costs are also straining household budgets, with about 30% of working-age adults with health insurance saying these expenses make it difficult to afford necessities like food, utilities, car payments and loans.

“It’s much better to have insurance. People who are uninsured report higher rates of problems not getting care because of the cost,” health researcher and lead study author Sara Collins told CBS MoneyWatch. “However, they also indicate that insurance coverage often does not provide affordable access to care for large segments of the population.”


Health care costs are rising as some struggle for coverage

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Collins also supports policies that expand coverage and contain health care costs so people can afford to stay healthy without racking up medical debt, a leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the United States. deductible and coinsurance costs are less burdensome.

Efforts by insurers to expand their provider networks will also lower people’s out-of-pocket costs, she said. As of 2022, more than 100 million Americans carried debt related to getting health care, according to Kaiser Family Foundation.

Commonwealth Fund President Joseph Betancourt, MD, also suggested that high health care costs are linked to Americans having one of the highest rates of chronic disease in the world.

“This is unsustainable for our healthcare system and our nation – we need major reforms to ensure people can get the care they need when they need it most,” he said in a statement.


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