Few Americans Know Much About Health Care Costs

Less than one fifth of U.S. adults (17%) say they have an idea about their potential costs if they face a need for health care. That’s the finding of a 2023 survey by Gallup recently published in the Bentley-Gallup Business in Society Report. Seventy-nine percent of those surveyed said they did not know how much health care would cost before receiving care.

The survey also found most (95%) believe health care organizations need to make costs more transparent before providing care. In 2023, fewer than three in 10 (29%) said they believe quality of care is reflected in the cost of health care products and services. More than half (56%) said costs did not reflect the quality of care provided.

Another 2023 survey – this one by the Harris Poll, shared exclusively with TIME magazine – found more than 70% of U.S. adults feel the health care system is failing to meet their needs in at least one way. Patient satisfaction is also negatively influenced by high costs, inaccessibility to treatment, and confusion about what’s covered.

The survey found more than half of the participants graded the U.S. health system a “C” or below. Forty percent cited a focus on profit as an issue, while 61% called out affordability. It was not all negative news, however. More than three quarters of respondents expressed appreciation for health care providers working to improve health.

Similar responses were also found by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) in its 2023 surveys. About half of U.S. adults said it is difficult to afford health care costs. One in four said they or a family member in their household faced financial issues paying for health care in the past 12 months. A like percentage said they had skipped or delayed needed care in the past year. About one in five (21%) said they did not fill a prescription because of its cost.

Even those with insurance are not immune to the issue of costs. About 40% worry about paying their insurance premiums, and 48% worry about copays like their deductible and coinsurance.

KFF noted that health care debt is a burden for many Americans. More than four in 10 (41%) reported having debt related to medical or dental care, including credit cards, collections organizations, banks, other lenders, or family and friends.

The Commonwealth Fund 2023 Health Care Affordability Survey yielded similar findings. In a national poll of more than 6,000 people under age 65, more than half (51%) said it was very or somewhat difficult for them to afford their health care costs. For those without insurance, the burden was greater – with 76% reporting financial challenges.


Source Link