Health costs among America's top worries

american worriesMore Americans say they're having trouble paying medical bills and are delaying care as a result of high medical costs, according to research from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

A quarter of Americans say they or a family member have had problems paying medical bills in the past year. And 58 percent say that they or a family member in their household have delayed medical tests or treatment, left drug prescriptions unfilled or cut pills in half, or cut other corners to avoid health care costs.

Americans who report being in poor health are the most likely to say they have delayed or skipped care in order to avoid costs, with 77 percent saying they have done so in one form or another.

Skyrocketing health costs are, unsurprisingly, a significant worry.

When asked about their level of worry on a number of health-related and other economic concerns, about two-thirds of the public (64 percent) says they are “very worried” or “somewhat worried” about having to pay more for health care and health insurance. That ranked about as high as worries including prices rising faster than income (69 percent) and not having enough money for retirement (65 percent), and ahead of such concerns as being unable to pay the rent or mortgage (40 percent) and losing a job (35 percent).

Health care related problems and worries also are particularly intense among uninsured adults under age 65 and those with lower incomes—81 percent of the nonelderly uninsured say they have delayed or skipped care due to cost in the past year, compared to 55 percent of the nonelderly with coverage.

And 72 percent of Americans who earn less than $40,000 a year report delaying or not getting care they needed due to cost in the past year, compared to 54 percent of those earning between $40,000 and $90,000, and 38 percent of those earning $90,000 or more.

The survey was conducted May 8-14, 2012, among a nationally representative random telephone sample of 1,218 adults living in the United States.


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