Jan. 17 (UPI) — A record number of Americans postponed getting medical treatment in 2022 due to prohibitive costs, with lower-income, younger adults and women the worst affected, according to a Gallup poll released Tuesday.
Overall, 38% of those surveyed reported that they or a family member had put off seeking medical care because of the high bills they would incur. That’s the highest such response in the 22 years Gallup has been tracking the trend.
The 12-point increase from 2021 marked the steepest year-over-year increase so far, Gallup said in a news release. Those putting off treatment for “very” or “somewhat” serious conditions jumped sharply to 27%. That compared with 11% who had forgone treatment for conditions of less concern, with the gap between the two groups at its widest since 2019.
Gallup’s findings came as a recent study showed that Americans are finding it harder and harder to afford medical care — even if they have health insurance through their employer. Researchers from New York University found that over the past two decades, the number of Americans with job-based health insurance who skimp on medical care has been on the rise.
The study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association was inconclusive on the reasons behind the trend but pointed to rising healthcare costs and moves by insurers to push a larger portion of the payment for treatment onto consumers.
President Joe Biden has been pushing for lower healthcare costs since taking office in 2021. The president has touted his efforts to take the fight to pharmaceutical companies and insurers to reduce drug costs and health insurance premiums and put an end to surprise bills.
The Inflation Reduction Act, which seeks to lock in lower healthcare premiums for millions who are covered through the Affordable Care Act, was signed into law by Biden in August after overcoming unanimous opposition from Republican lawmakers.