Many Americans view the economy as a major healthcare concern: Oscar Health survey

Ongoing economic challenges are a top health-related concern for many people, according to a new survey from Oscar Health.

Oscar teamed with Morning Consult to poll 1,000 people from across the U.S. and found 44% consider the economy the largest challenge facing their health, 19% more than the next-highest concern mentioned in the survey, the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, 93% of those surveyed said they were either extremely, very or somewhat concerned about the economy.

Jackie Kahn, chief communications officer at Oscar Health, told Fierce Healthcare that fears about the economy could lead patients to demand greater value from what they spend on healthcare.

"We don’t expect these concerns to be restricted to insurance costs—people will look at how all of their healthcare spending impacts their pocketbook," she said. "If harnessed, we could see this igniting the shift to increased spending in well care—not just sick care. But that still remains to be seen."

As people weigh their economic prospects, many are reconsidering their insurance benefits, the survey found. More than one in four of those surveyed said they are considering a new brand of insurance, and nearly half of the uninsured participants said they are considering enrolling in coverage.

These findings come as more people than ever are signing up for plans on the Affordable Care Act's exchanges. Kahn said Oscar sees the potential opportunity in these changing consumer attitudes.

"Consumers want choice, and that extends to healthcare, too. It’s one of the fundamental premises that we used to build Oscar," she said. "We view this increase in shopping as yet another sign that consumerism is taking a stronger foothold in the healthcare industry."

"And, the plans that lead with member-centric solutions and technology will continue to win," she added.

While patients said they are concerned about the costs associated with care in a volatile economic environment, overall patients did not say they are planning to significantly cut down on utilization. Most respondents said they expect to maintain the same number of doctor visits, prescriptions and other service.

A quarter said they're expecting their healthcare spending to increase next year as they utilize care at similar rates for a higher cost, the survey found.