As the Obama administration sells Obamacare plans on Black Friday, more Americans and their family members are putting off getting medical treatment because of high out-of-pocket costs after the “Affordable Care Act” was implemented last year.
According to this year’s Gallup survey, 33% of Americans “say they have put off getting medical treatment that they or their family members need because of cost,” which is “among the highest readings in the 14-year history of Gallup asking the question.”
Since 2001, Gallup “has asked Americans each November if they have put off any sort of medical treatment for themselves or their families in the past 12 months” and many hoped last year “that the opening of the government healthcare exchanges and the resulting increase in the number of Americans with health insurance would enable more people to seek medical treatment.”
“But, despite a drop in the uninsured rate, a slightly higher percentage of Americans than in previous years report having put off medical treatment, suggesting that the Affordable Care Act has not immediately affected this measure,” Gallup concluded, citing the potential “high deductibles or copays that are part of the newly insured’s plans.”
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 28, 2014
As Gallup notes, “one of the goals of opening the government exchanges was to enable more Americans to get health insurance to help cover the costs of needed medical treatments,” but “while many Americans have gained insurance, there has been no downturn in the percentage who say they have had to put off needed medical treatment because of cost.”
The survey found that the “percentage of Americans with private health insurance who report putting off medical treatment because of cost has increased from 25% in 2013 to 34% in 2014.” Gallup found that “more than half of the uninsured (57%) have put off treatment, compared with 34% with private insurance and 22% with Medicare or Medicaid.”
In addition, Gallup found that while the percentage of lower-income Americans (those with annual household incomes under $30,000) who reported putting off medical treatment decreased from 43% in 2013 to 35% this year, the percentage of upper-income Americans (those making more than $75,000 a year) delaying treatment increased from 17% in 2013 to 28%, as did the percentage of middle-income Americans (those making $30,000 to $74,999 a year) who put off treatment (33% in 2013 to 38%).
Twenty-two percent of “Americans say they have put off medical treatment for a ‘very’ or ‘somewhat serious’ condition,” which is “double the 11% who say they have put off treatment for a non-serious condition.”
The Gallup poll was conducted Nov. 6-9.