USA Today began a three-part series today on US health care costs. Even the Insured can Buckle Under Health Care Costs, the first article in the series, details the findings of a survey conducted by the newspaper, the Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health.
“Medical costs are a growing burden for middle-income families with children, as well as for the working class, people with chronic illnesses, the disabled and the uninsured. Many who cannot pay skimp on health care, go without prescription drugs or simply ignore their bills, the survey showed. . . .
“Overall, the hardest hit by medical costs are the uninsured.
“Next are adults under age 65 with insurance who have household incomes of less than $75,000, an analysis of the survey data found. Those in that vast swath of Middle America were far more likely than those richer or older to report not having enough money to pay for medical costs in the past year (33%), to have paid $1,000 or more in out-of-pocket costs for care (31%) or to have skipped medical treatment or a prescription because of the cost (34%).
“Wealthier households and those who report few health problems — two groups that represent nearly half of Americans — had little or no difficulty with medical costs.”
Other findings include:
- 62% percent of those struggling to pay medical bills have health insurance
- 28% of adults were unable to pay for some form of medical care in the past year
- More than one in five Americans currently have an overdue medical bill
- Nearly two out of 10 say health care costs are their biggest monthly expense after rent or mortgage payments
- Almost three out of 10 estimate they paid $1,000 or more out-of-pocket for health care in the past year on top of premiums