The percentage of U.S. adults who report forgoing treatment for a health problem in the prior three months due to the cost of care has increased to 30%, according to study by West Health and Gallup and reported in a news release. Reports of being unable to pay for prescribed medicine in the prior three months, in turn, have risen to 14% during the same time span.
Gallup said the surveys were conducted by web March 15-21, June 14-20, and over successive field periods of Sept. 27-30 and Oct. 18-21, 2021, with adults aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia via the Gallup Panel, a probability-based, non-opt-in panel of about 120,000 adults nationwide. The September/October results were obtained on a West Health survey solely asking about healthcare issues, whereas the March and June measurements were asked toward the end of Gallup's ongoing coronavirus pandemic tracking survey.
Gallup said that "the COVID-19 pandemic has increased their worry about the cost of healthcare services, and to a lesser extent, the cost of prescription drugs. About six in 10 U.S. adults (59%) report that they are more worried about the cost of healthcare services due to the pandemic, and another 45% say they are more worried about the cost of prescriptions. Less than 5% are now less worried about each because of COVID."
In the survey, Americans also expressed concerns about disparities in the healthcare system. "Six in 10 Americans (60%) say that due to COVID-19, they are more concerned that some Americans have unequal access to quality care. This level of concern rises to 74% among Black Americans and to 68% among Hispanic Americans," Gallup said.