Survey: One-Quarter of Americans Skip Health Care Because of Cost Concerns

More than half worry about affordable health insurance in the future

While politicians squabble over how to dismantle the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the country is suffering from a bad case of health care insecurity, according to a survey posted on the Bankrate website. In the poll, one-quarter of respondents said they or someone in their family had skipped necessary medical care because of the cost, and more than half were worried about not being able to afford health insurance.

Older millennials (27 to 36 years of age) were most likely to forgo health care because of the cost, the survey found. Approximately one in three respondents in that age group said they had chosen not to seek needed medical attention because they couldn’t afford it.

In the survey, 56% said they were either very or somewhat worried that they might not have affordable health coverage in the future. That was about the same level of concern that a Bankrate survey found when respondents were asked the same question in August 2014, nearly a year after the opening of the health insurance exchanges created under the PPACA.

The new poll followed House passage of a bill to repeal and replace the PPACA. The Congressional Budget Office said the House legislation would reduce insurance premiums through plans that provide fewer benefits, but it would leave tens of millions more Americans uninsured and raise costs substantially for sick people.

Tevi Troy, CEO of the American Health Policy Institute, said coverage isn’t likely to change much for the estimated 177 million Americans who obtain health insurance through work. Employers are likely to continue providing affordable health care because it helps with recruitment, retention, and employee morale—factors unrelated to changes in government policy.

The poll found that Republicans were far less concerned about future health care changes than were those of other political persuasions. More than half (54%) of respondents who identified themselves as Republicans said they weren’t worried about having affordable health insurance in the future, compared with 10% of Democrats and 26% of independents.

Bankrate’s Money Pulse survey was conducted on May 18–21, 2017, by Princeton Survey Research Associates International with a nationally representative sample of 1,002 adults living in the continental United States.

Source: Bankrate; June 8, 2017.