Americans are somewhat satisfied with their insurance, but remain anxious over rising costs.
A new survey by West Health and Gallup revealed some interesting insights on how Americans feel about healthcare. Overall, Americans polled believe that quality and costs of healthcare are both high. Respondents also revealed to have high anxiety about healthcare costs.
The survey randomly polled 3,500 people across the country, by phone, in both English and Spanish. The margin of error for general survey questions ranged from 1 to 2% while questions targeting narrowed segments (income level, political affiliation) had a margin or error of 3 to 5%.
The Good News
The most positive findings from the gallup survey relate to healthcare quality. Among respondents, 48% believe U.S. healthcare is “the best or among the best” in the world. Respondents seemed overall satisfied with their health insurance when asked--64% claiming they are “mostly or completely satisfied” with their insurance while only 19% claimed they are “mostly or completely dissatisfied”.
Respondents are not only anxious a catastrophic illness could bankrupt them, they are worried about the effect of rising healthcare costs on the economy. Among respondents, 45% are concerned a catastrophic event would leave them bankrupt while 77% are concerned rising costs can cause “significant and lasting damage” to the economy as a whole.
Supporting some this financial anxiety is some data on how healthcare costs are pushing people into debt. In the last 12 months, Americans borrowed $88 billion to pay for healthcare. Also, 65 million Americans had a health issue in the last 12 months but did not go to a doctor because of financial hardship.
Respondents expressed concern over prices on multiple levels. Almost half of respondents (47%) claimed to have no idea what the costs of an emergency room visit would be, and 41% claimed to have forgone an emergency room visit in the last 12 months due to uncertainty about costs. There is high skepticism among respondents in our politicians’ ability to lower runaway healthcare costs--70% claiming they are “not at all confident” our politicians can find a solution.