High health care costs keep Americans away from doctors’ offices, according to a survey.
A Gallup poll released Tuesday found that 38 percent of Americans are putting off medical treatment because of financial concerns, the highest level ever recorded and up 12 percent from last year.
An analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) found that insurance premiums, the monthly cost of coverage, have skyrocketed 47 percent between 2011 and 2021, while deductibles, the amount a person must pay before before the insurance takes effect, rose 68 percent. period.
This is coupled with staggering jumps in prescription drug prices, with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reporting price increases of more than 1,000 percent from 2016 to 2022.
Experts point to skyrocketing inflation that has impacted nearly every facet of American life, combined with the upward pressure the covid pandemic has placed on health care costs in recent years.
Health insurance premiums and deductibles rose sharply between 2011 and 2021, while HHS warns that the prices of many prescription drugs increased between 2016 and 2022. The biggest offender was fluconazole, which is used to treat fungal infections.
Rising health care costs in the US have been a hot political issue for much of the 21st century.
An estimated 30 million Americans, nine percent of the population, do not have health insurance.
Even those with insurance can face bills in the tens of thousands due to issues with out-of-network care or not receiving coverage.
These rising costs have discouraged Americans from seeking medical care, which could leave health problems unattended too long and put themselves at risk.
A Gallup poll conducted between November 9 and December 2 found that nearly two in five Americans had put off health care in 2022 because of cost.
This is a strong increase from 46 percent from 2021, where 26 percent of Americans did not seek care due to rising costs.
The Washington DC-based pollster has conducted this survey every year since 2000.
Last year was a record for the number of Americans who passed the case for financial reasons, with the previous high in 2014 and 2019 standing at 33 percent.
Many also put off medical care for potentially serious medical conditions, with 27 percent of respondents reporting this.
This is also a record for this Gallup poll.
The Gallup poll found that four in 10 Americans put off health care because it might be too expensive, a record since it began collecting this data at the turn of the century.
One in four Americans postpone care for what they consider to be a “very or somewhat serious condition”
The inflationary crisis of 2022 caused Americans to spend more of everyday expenses like groceries, clothing and gas, leaving less to use for health care.
The US inflation rate peaked at 9.1 percent in June last year, though it has since fallen to 6.5 percent last month.
However, rampant inflation is not new to the healthcare industry.
A KFF report found that monthly premiums for employer-based health insurance plans increased 47 percent from 2011 to 2021.
The annual cost of a family plan in 2021 was $22,221 on average, with employees paying $5,969 out-of-pocket, or $497.42 per month.
About half of the entire US population receives health care through their employer.
Deductibles, the amount a person has to pay out-of-pocket before their insurance will provide coverage, have also risen a staggering 68 percent, KFF found.
The average deductible for a family increased from $991 to $1,669 over the ten-year period. Nearly 85 percent of Americans on employer plans have a deductible.
Inflation in the US slowed once again last month, rising at an annual rate of 6.5%. It marked the sixth consecutive month that the annual inflation rate has declined
Drug prices have also skyrocketed in the United States. HHS reports 1,216 products that saw a price increase of more than 8.5 percent between 2016 and 2022.
The average price of that group of drugs increased 31.6 percent during that six-year period.
The biggest offender was fluconazole, made by the Greenstone company and distributed by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.
The wholesale price of the drug used to treat fungal infections increased from $2 to $28 per pill, an increase of 1,100 percent.
Lisinopril, which is used to treat chronic heart failure, costs $129 per 1,000 tablets, an increase of 539 percent from $20 per tablet in 2016.
Other drugs such as calcium acetate (price increased 113 percent), used for kidney disease, diltiazem (106 percent), sulfasalazine (100 percent) and levetiracetam (89 percent), were among the which increased faster.
An analysis last year found that the The average American spends $1,300 per year in prescription drugs, far more than any other country in the world.