About three in 10 Americans delayed some kind of health procedure in 2018 because of costs, a new report issued by Gallup on Monday found.
More than half of all respondents who put off care – equivalent to about 20 percent of all U.S. adults – said they delayed treatment of a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” medical condition.
More than half of respondents who said they do not have any health insurance coverage said they put off treatment because of costs.
About 12 percent of Americans – or roughly 40 million people – lack health insurance of any kind.
While those with private insurance were less likely to have delayed treatment, about 30 percent of them reported doing so.
“After paying steep health insurance premiums, or in some cases funding their own medical spending accounts, Americans with health insurance are often still responsible for large deductibles and co-pays that inhibit them from visiting a doctor,” the report said.
Those who are enrolled in the government-administered health insurance programs Medicare or Medicaid were the least likely to have pushed off medical treatment due to costs.
The report also shows that poor and working-class people are disproportionately less likely to seek medical treatment.
People with an annual household income of less than $30,000 were nearly twice as likely as those with an annual household income of over $75,000 to opt out of treatment because of costs.
The U.S. is also the only industrialized nation in the world that does not provide at least basic health insurance coverage to all of its citizens as a right.
Gallup’s findings for 2018 were generally consistent with prior findings over the past decade.
The report concludes that on one hand, the consistency in the data over recent years shows some degree of resiliency in the face of rising health care costs.
On the other hand, however, the data shows that the reduction in uninsured Americans resulting from the Affordable Care Act has not been enough to significantly reduce the rates of unmet care.