Although more Americans have joined health insurance rolls in the wake of the Affordable Care Act, one in three say they have put off getting medical treatment for themselves or a family member because of high costs, according to the results of a Gallup poll.
Every year since 2001, the Gallup organization has asked Americans “Within the last 12 months, have you or a member of your family put off any sort of medical treatment because of the cost you would have to pay?” The reply of “Yes” by 33 percent of respondents is the highest in the survey’s history, which has tracked around 30 percent in recent years.
“While many Americans have gained insurance, there has been no downturn in the percentage who say they have had to put off needed medical treatment because of cost,” Gallup researchers wrote. “This may reflect high deductibles or copays that are part of the newly insured’s plans, although separate research has shown that most of the newly insured in 2014 are satisfied with their health coverage.”
Other key findings from the Gallup poll include:
- Uninsured Americans are the most likely to have put off medical treatment because of high costs. Fifty-seven percent of uninsured have put off treatment, compared to 34 percent with private insurance and 22 percent with Medicare or Medicaid.
- The percentage of Americans with private health insurance who report putting off medical treatment due to costs increased from 25 percent in 2013 to 34 percent in 2014.
- More upper-income Americans (those making $75,000 or more a year) report delaying medical treatment in 2014 (28 percent) compared to 2013 (17 percent).
- Americans are more likely to delay or avoid medical treatment for serious conditions, with 22 percent saying they have put off treatment for serious conditions, compared to 11 percent who have put off treatment for non-serious conditions.