A quarter of Americans have chosen to forgo medical care because of the costs, according to a new survey.
Bankrate, a consumer financial planning site, surveyed more than 1,000 American adults and found that millennials were the most likely to avoid care due to cost. Overall, 31% of millennials said they had chosen not to seek out care because of cost, compared with 25% of Generation Xers, 23% of Baby Boomers and just 8% of the Silent Generation.
"It's very concerning that people are forgoing medical attention because of the expense," Robin Saks Frankel, credit card analyst at Bankrate.com, said in an announcement. "Thirteen percent of respondents don't have any health insurance at all—a risk that could cost them. Unexpected medical bills can lead to a huge financial burden that could take years to pay off should something go wrong."
More than half of the respondents (56%) also said insurance coverage is a concern, with 64% of Generation X respondents, 58% of Baby Boomers and 56% of millennials voicing that worry.
The responses also varied widely along political party lines: Of Republican respondents, 54% said they were in favor of the GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, compared with 10% of Democrats and 26% of independents.
Recent studies suggest that providers may not be aware of how much the services they order could cost. Researchers found that 62% of ER physicians were unable to estimate the costs of care. It’s also not uncommon for patients to be severely overcharged for care, particularly in the ER, where many hospitals charged 340% more than Medicaid would pay.
And higher prices don’t necessarily mean better care. A Health Affairs analysis found that patients who paid more rated care coordination and management better than those who paid less, but other quality metrics did not link to costs.