Survey finds 60% increase in skipped care

April 15, 2011

An estimated 9 million working-age adults became uninsured in the last two years, according to the Commonwealth Fund 2010 Biennial Health Insurance Survey.

An estimated 9 million working-age adults became uninsured in the last two years, according to the Commonwealth Fund 2010 Biennial Health Insurance Survey. The survey says 43 million adults under age 65 reported that they or their spouse lost a job in the past two years.

According to the report, “Help on the Horizon: How the Recession Has Left Millions of Workers Without Health Insurance, and How Health Reform Will Bring Relief,” 25% of people who lost employer health insurance were able to find another source of health insurance coverage, and 14% continued their job-based coverage through COBRA.

According to the survey, 75 million adults did not get needed healthcare in 2010, skipping doctor visits, prescriptions, specialist care, and recommended tests or treatments because of costs. This is a 60% increase from 2001. Uninsured adults were the most likely to forgo care due to costs, with 66% reporting they did so. Thirty-one percent of adults who were insured all year went without the healthcare they needed because of costs, according to the survey, up from 21% in 2001.

The survey also found that 49 million working-age adults spent 10% or more of their income on out-of-pockets costs and health insurance premiums in 2010, up from 31 million in 2001. In addition, 31% of adults insured all year spent 10% or more of their incomes on healthcare costs in 2010.

According to the survey, 73 million people reported problems paying their medical bills or were paying off medical debt, up from 58 million in 2005. An estimated 44 million people were paying off medical debt in 2010, up from 37 million in 2005.

The Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from July 14 to November 30, 2010. The survey consisted of 25-minute telephone interviews in either English or Spanish and was conducted among a random, nationally representative sample of 4,005 adults ages 19 and older living in the continental United States. Analysis was limited to respondents ages 19 to 64.