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Cost of Medical Care Leads to Delays for Many Americans: Survey

June 3, 2022 – Nearly 7 out of 10 Americans have put off a doctor’s appointment or medical procedure because of the cost, according to a recent WebMD survey.

The results showed that 69% of the 701 respondents had cost issues, with age and gender representing important factors in the decision to delay medical care.

Those under the age of 45 years were much more likely to put off an appointment or procedure than those were 45 and older (77% vs. 58%), and women were more likely than men (73% vs. 64%), based on data from the survey, which took place from May 18 to May 23.

Despite those payment issues, just under half (48%) of the respondents said that they had never compared the price of a doctor or procedure to find a more affordable option. Again, there was a significant difference by age – 55% for those under age 45, and 40% for those 45 and older – but not by gender.

A survey question about costs that weren’t avoided showed that 10% of Americans have had to pay a medical bill of $ 25,000 or more and that a quarter have paid a medical bill of at least $ 10,000.

At the low end of the payment scale, 16% of respondents said that the largest bill they have ever paid was less than $ 1,000, and 12% reported that they never had to pay a medical bill.

Medical costs were significant enough to require a loan for 18% of respondents, but there were no real differences between the genders or the two age groups. Meanwhile, almost half (48%) of those surveyed said that they or someone in their household had a chronic medical condition that was creating a financial hardship to treat.

As for insurance coverage, the survey found that:

  • 41% were insured through their employer / spouse’s employer.
  • 23% were covered though Medicare or Medicaid.
  • 16% said other, don’t know, or declined to answer.
  • 15% did not have health care coverage.
  • 6% had purchased their own insurance.

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