‘Fear’ and healthcare: Gallup survey finds Americans skipped treatment, borrowed $88B to pay for costs

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April 02, 2019

By Ken Alltucker

Americans borrowed an estimated $88 billion to pay for healthcare last year and one in four people skipped care because of costs, according to a new Gallup survey funded by a nonpartisan health group.

The nationwide survey of 3,537 adults also found that lower-income adults were more likely to skip care or fear bankruptcy over spiraling medical costs. But even affluent households have deferred care over concerns about finances.

West Health, a group of nonprofits funded by Gary and Mary West, commissioned and funded the Gallup survey to ask Americans how health costs affect their own finances, choices about care and views on the health-care system, according to Tim Lash, West Health’s chief strategy officer.

Lash says that worries about financial hardship from medical bills cut across all income levels.

Lower income brackets had the most fear, but that fear persisted even for those we would associate with the middle class and upper middle class. It’s not just those living at or slightly above poverty that are concerned. It’s even the more affluent among us.

Timothy A. Lash
President of West Health