November 2, 2023

Healthcare costs making Americans poorer, sicker

Editor's Note

The high cost of healthcare is leading many Americans to skip care and forgo medications, according to the 2023 Healthcare Affordability Survey by the Commonwealth Fund published on October 26.

Some highlights of the survey include:

  • A large number of insured working-age adults surveyed admitted difficulty affording their health care – including 43% of those with employer coverage, 57% with marketplace or individual-market plans, 45% with Medicaid, and 51% with Medicare.
  • Many insured adults also skipped needed health care or medications due to costs in the past year, including 29% of those with employer coverage, 37% with marketplace or individual-market plans, 39% in Medicaid, and 42% in Medicare.
  • And despite insurance coverage, medical debt was widespread. 30% of adults with employer coverage said they were paying off debt from medical or dental care, as well as 33% of those with employer coverage, 21% with Medicaid and 33% with Medicare.
  • Similarly, many are delaying or avoiding filling their prescriptions as a result of medical debt, which for 85% of people with medical debt was $500 or more. 

The survey found that as a result of delayed and missed care, people are getting sicker, and considering dropping their coverage. The report details a number of strategies for mitigating the health care debt crisis, including consumer protection measures, the creation of public plan options, state regulations on employer insurance markets, and congressional reform measures.


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