INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The economy has made consumers more cautious about health care spending and forced some to reduce it considerably, according to a Deloitte Center for Health Solutions survey.

The research firm, based in Washington, D.C., reported that 75 percent of 4,000 U.S. consumers it surveyed randomly in April said the recent economic slowdown has affected their health care spending. A total of 41 percent said they are being more cautious about it, 20 percent cut back on spending, and 13 percent said their cutbacks are considerable.

Deloitte surveyed both insured and uninsured people. It found that 48 percent of those without insurance said they cut health care spending considerably, compared with 8 percent of people with insurance.

Lower-than-expected growth in health care use has been cited frequently as a factor behind recent strong performances from health insurers. The five largest insurers — a group that includes UnitedHealth Group Inc., WellPoint Inc. and Aetna Inc. — all reported better-than-expected profits in the first three months of 2011.

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