Tell us something we didn’t know.
Half of all Americans lacking health insurance report they are “unable to afford medical bills,” according to a survey published by Consumer Reports, the not-for-profit product testing and consumer information publication.
The improving economy and initial stages of healthcare reform have been unable to stem the worsening the financial situation of most Americans, and an increasing number report they have had more difficulty with medical expenses this year over last, regardless of whether they have insurance or not.
The survey, which covered the first six months of 2012 and compared it with the same period in 2011, found that more Americans put off doctor’s visits, medical procedures, and medical tests because of the cost. The increase was incremental, no more than a percentage point, by those with insurance; the increase by self-pays jumped 12 to 29 percentage points.
When aggregated, the survey results are somewhat alarming. More than 80 percent of uninsured Americans reported delaying treatment or tests in addition to not buying medicine or taking lower doses without a doctor’s authorization — all because of cost. For the insured, slightly more than half reported doing so in 2012.
Fifty percent of those without insurance reported they experienced the inability to pay medical bills in the first half of 2012, as compared to 15 percent of those with insurance. The Consumer Reports survey findings are consistent with similar surveys, such as those published by the Commonwealth Fund that focus on women and young adults.
Overall, 69 percent of those who have no health insurance experienced financial trouble over the first six months of 2012, but those with insurance was 36 percent, more than one in three.
A summary of the Consumer Report survey can be found here.