Four in 10 Americans Cut Spending to Cover Healthcare Costs

2 min
August 04, 2022

By Dan Witters

August 4, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rising healthcare costs have compelled nearly four in 10 Americans in the past six months to delay or skip healthcare treatments, trim regular household expenses or borrow money. That translates into an estimated 98 million adults having to take extraordinary steps to afford healthcare. These results are based on a new study by West Health and Gallup.

Economizing to afford healthcare is much more common among those in lower-income households. Over half of adults in households earning less than $48,000 per year report cutting some spending. But even among those in households earning at least $180,000, 19% of respondents have pared back to pay for healthcare, highlighting the fact that the burden of high healthcare costs affects a broad socioeconomic portion of the population.

Women, particularly those younger than 50, are disproportionately being compelled to cut back on healthcare due to its rising costs. Three in 10 women overall (30%) report having done so, compared with 22% of men — and this percentage swells to 36% among women under 50.

This survey was conducted by web June 2-16, 2022, with 3,001 U.S. adults via the Gallup Panel, a probability-based, non-opt-in panel of about 115,000 adults nationwide.

One in Four Americans Have Skipped Treatment

Overall, 26% of adults report delaying or avoiding medical care or purchasing prescription drugs in the prior six months due to higher healthcare prices. This rises to 43% among adults in lower-income households (those making less than $24,000 annually).

The survey found that those who are cutting spending on non-healthcare-related expenses — including food, gas and electricity — are substantially more likely to be cutting spending on healthcare as well. For example:

  • Of those who cut back on utilities, 59% also cut back on medical care and medicine.
  • Of those who skipped a meal, 71% also cut back on medical care and medicine.
  • Of those who borrowed money, 60% also cut back on medical care and medicine.
  • Of those who drove less, 55% also cut back on medical care and medicine.
  • Of those who did any of the above, 51% also cut back on medical care and medicine.