Costs Pose Barrier To Medical Care For Nearly One In Three Americans: Report

Can't Afford Health Care? You're Not Alone

Over the last year, nearly one in three Americans have forgone medical care due to costs, according to a new report from Gallup.

The percentage -- 32 percent -- is higher than any previously recorded by Gallup. Last year, 30 percent said they had forgone medical care for cost reasons; 12 years ago, 19 percent said they'd forgone it for cost reasons.

The report, based on 1,015 U.S. adults who completed phone surveys from Nov. 15 and 18 this year, shows that the likelihood of forgoing care for cost reasons differs by coverage.

People who don't have health insurance were the most likely to say they'd put off care -- 55 percent, compared with 30 percent of those who were privately insured. Twenty-one percent of people with health care from Medicare or Medicaid said they'd forgone care for cost.

The report also showed that more people are likely to put off medical care for a serious condition than for a non-serious condition -- 19 percent versus 13 percent this year.

"The rising costs can put personal as well as public health at risk if Americans forgo treatment they need because they feel they cannot afford it," the researchers wrote in the report. "Indeed, Gallup finds more than three in 10 Americans are putting off needed care, even for serious medical issues."

Of course, it's nothing new that finances are often in the way of getting necessary care. HuffPost's Jeffrey Young reported earlier this year on a Kaiser Family Foundation survey that showed that 58 percent of people put off, or went without, necessary health care over the past year because of costs. That number is up from 50 percent, recorded from August last year.

And in a 2010 survey from the Commonwealth Fund, 43 percent of adult women in the U.S. said that they'd forgone health care -- in the form of seeing their doctor, or getting medicine -- because of cost reasons.

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