US Adults Most Likely to Skip Healthcare Because It Just Costs Too Much

Very sobering news about health care for adults in the US from a survey of eleven countries by the Commonwealth Fund.  As reported in today’s Science Daily

…adults in the United States are far more likely than those in 10 other industrialized nations to go without health care because of costs, have trouble paying medical bills, encounter high medical bills even when insured, and have disputes with their insurers or discover insurance wouldn’t pay as they expected.

Survey participants included 19,700 adults from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

In particular, the survey found that people in the US have the highest number of negative experiences getting medical health via health insurance. One third (33%) of U.S. adults ‘went without recommended care, did not see a doctor when sick, or failed to fill prescriptions because of costs,’ compared to as few as 5 percent to 6 percent in the Netherlands and the U.K..  

And, in the democratic US, the healthcare you get is very much related to your income:

Although the uninsured were at highest risk for skipping needed care, working-age U.S. adults with below-average incomes who were insured all year were significantly more likely than those with above-average incomes to go without needed care because of costs and have serious problems paying medical bills — nearly half (46%) went without needed care and one third had one bill problem, double the rates reported by above-average income insured adults.

Significant income gaps among people in the US also affected experiences with primary care access, getting care after hours, and specialists.

These results more than underscore the need for the Affordable Health Care Act; for the need for all Americans to have access to health care, protection from medical debt, and health insurance policies and procedures that are straightforward and simple to understand.

Unfortunately, in view of recent political developments here in the US, it seems as if the disparities noted in the Commonwealth Fund study are more likely to widen.

Photo by Subcsconsci Productions.


Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle7 years ago

Single payer, anyone?! Health should be a human right.

As an R.N., I've seen sick people worried that their insurance company wasn't going to cover what was a necessary hospitalization -- people who are sick, aren't going to recover well, when they're worried. I won't reiterate the stats on how much sicker we Americans are, are shortened lifespans, compared to the rest of the developed world. I'll just point out that in our economy, we could progress a lot faster, if the primary worry, cost of health care, wasn't hanging over workers' heads. A worker who doesn't fear an accident or illness, produces better for his/her employer.

Roger R.
Past Member 7 years ago

If These Three Musketeers didn't ROB you of every dream you ever had, noone this:>>>>

Krystyna H.
Krystyna H7 years ago

But when the whole issue was being dragged out in congress, why wasn't there a louder voice demanding health care reform? Or did it just not make the media?

I read that 85% of Americans polled were happy with their health coverage and wanted nothing changed. Not only that but the states with the largest amount of low-income people were the ones most vehemently against it. True, it was southern states like George, North and South Carolina, Alabama - but don't these people have a sense of what is best for them?

It seems to me that health care coverage is a no-brainer, but the fight put up to keep it out of government's hands, and even out of a non-profit organization's hands, was much, much louder than voices to the contrary. Not only that, it left Obama tarred with the socialist/communist/Marxist label and I have not read of anyone giving him a humanitarian label for his efforts.

If you want it, you've got to fight for it more loudly than the other side.

Nicole F.
Nicole F.7 years ago

I take one medication for my asthma that is, basically, essential to life. A few years ago I couldn't afford it, and couldn't get any type of assistance due to issues with documenting income (no income=no pay stub=no proof of income). I ended up in the ER 5 times (including arriving once by ambulance, and once kept overnight) and was pretty sure I was going to die. My ER visits, hospitalizations, and ambulance ride, which are mostly still unpaid, would have paid for a year of the medication.

Cindy B.
Cindy B7 years ago

At, ah, a somewhat advanced age, I have never had insurance as I've always worked for myself or per diem/hourly -- which doesn't include benefits. It's very exciting to live like that. You really have to be on top of your game, be very proactive, be VERY well informed re health and wellness issues... So far so good -- but if something really catastrophic happens, e.g., getting hit by a truck, well, I'm toast. Unless of course it was the truck's fault and they have good insurance!

Jamie Clemons
Jamie C7 years ago

We have to have that public option now.

Robert O.
Robert O7 years ago

I can understand that since I know of a lot of people (myself included) that are putting off healthcare since the cost is so astronomical. It's expensive enough with insurance, but without it? Forget it! Something needs to be done ASAP!

Shannon G.
Shannon G7 years ago

@ dana, call 211 in the dallas area for direction to receive low cost or free mamograms. The number used to work anyway. Also, the Susan Komen Foundation could help, just visit their web site. Hope this helps.

Dana W.
Dana W7 years ago

In the Dallas area, the average price of a mammogram is $375 plus another $120 to have a radiologist interpret the results. Without insurance it is tough to afford.

Rob and Jay B.
Jay S7 years ago

Go to this link below that has recently come out showing how the US compares to other countries in cost of different private medical procedures & the US is many times more expensive. It shows Spain, where we live, in comparison (with several other countries) to the US & even with private health care here it is cheap compared to the US, that doesn't count that everyone is covered by Socialized medicine which doesn't cost anything when you use it - no copays or deductibles. Working people pay 250 euros a month for 'Social Security', which here means unemployment insurance, total healthcare & one of the best pension systems in Europe. Then when you need medical care there are no forms to fill out, no insurance claims to wade thru & fight a company for payment - you just go in & get what you need without all the extra stress. Anyway, look at the comparisons on this recent study, it is very enlightening: