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More than a Third of Americans Have Skipped a Healthcare Visit Due to Inability to Pay


The average American can afford a maximum of a $97 for out-of-pocket healthcare expenses.

expensive healthcare © MohamadFazial - stock.adobe.com

expensive healthcare © MohamadFazial - stock.adobe.com

More than a third (36%) of insured Americans skipped a healthcare visit within the last year due to financial reasons and that rate jumps to 83% for uninsured people, according to the results of a recent industry report by Payzen, a San Francisco-based healthcare technology company that provides payment plans.

The report, called The High Cost of Health: Analyzing America’s Healthcare Affordability Crisis, surveyed 1,007 Americans who had had a hospital visit or surgery within the last two years. The results were released this morning.

Medical debt is not a foreign concept for the 100 million Americans affected, according to a statement from The White House released last December.

The Payzen report found that the average American can afford a maximum of $97 for out-of-pocket healthcare expenses. But when broken down by demographic, White respondents said they could go up to $104 while Black respondents topped out at $57 a month.

The most common healthcare skipped were preventative visits (49%), followed by prescription drug refills (48%) mental health care (40%) and diagnostic testing (39%) the report reads.

To mitigate healthcare costs, respondents said they would be willing to cancel vacations (91%), take on another part-time job (75%) or downsize their home (51%).

“It's not a willingness to pay issue, it’s a financial capacity to pay problem,” Itzik Cohen, founder and CEO of Payzen said in a news release. “These findings underscore the urgent need to address healthcare affordability issues to ensure equitable access to essential services and alleviate financial burdens on individuals and families.”

Since 2013, the average family healthcare premium has increased 47% and deductibles have increased 10%, KFF reports.

Among insured individuals, those with private insurance postponed care the most (49%), the Payzen report says. Medicaid enrollees came in second with 39% delaying care, followed by 33% of those with employee-sponsored plans and 26% with Medicare.

Increasing healthcare expenses touch many aspects of patients’ lives. The Payzen survey found that 61% of respondents are worried about paying utilities, 59% are concerned about paying rent and 59% are nervous about affording gasoline and food.

The physical effects of delaying care are not small either. The Payzen report found that almost three-quarters of respondents (68%) reported increased stress about missing an appointment, 49% said the health problem they put off treating got worse as a result and 29% said they experienced negative effects on their job performance or career progression.

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