Both medical costs and the health insurance plans designed to help cover those costs continue to increase year after year, and many Americans find themselves unable to afford either.
According to recent Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) polling, many health insurance policyholders face several challenges that get in the way of optimal medical care. Let’s take a look at some of the top roadblocks.
High Costs of Health Insurance
With the cost of health insurance on the rise, some Americans find it very difficult to afford routine medical expenses. More specifically, at least one-quarter of insured adults say it’s a challenge for them to afford these costs, including monthly premiums, deductibles, and co-pays for doctor visits and prescription medications.
According to the KFF poll, health care costs are on the top the list of household expenses about which adults in the US worry. Regardless of health or socioeconomic status, approximately half of the public says they’re concerned to some degree about the ability to afford unexpected medical bills or their insurance deductibles. These concerns align with the continued trend of increasing costs of premiums, deductibles, and other types of cost-sharing with employer-sponsored health insurance.
Postponing Medical Care
Lack of affordability is a barrier to seeking medical attention when warranted, and many Americans put off medical care due to the high treatment costs involved. Households with a family member with a serious health issue are more likely to put off seeking medical care when needed due to the cost. More specifically, almost two-thirds of those polled said they or a family member postponed health care due to cost.
Failure to Take Prescription Medication as Prescribed
Prescription medication is another important part of routine medical care for many Americans. Unfortunately, many who need medication as part of their ongoing treatment regimen do not take it due to a lack of affordability. According to the KFF poll, about one-quarter of those currently taking prescription medication say it’s challenging to be able to afford it.
Some don’t fill their prescriptions at all, cut their pills in half to expand their medication, skip doses, or choose to take over-the-counter medications instead to save money. Unfortunately, many people who claim not to take their prescription medication as prescribed say their conditions worsened as a result.
Medical Debt Mounting
Many Americans find themselves with mounting debt after being unable to pay their medical bills on time or in full. Half of those polled who have medical bill problems say their medical bills are having a significant impact on their family.
Over the past decade, the average deductible for health insurance for workers covered by their employers increased by 212%, with a quarter of covered employees paying single-person deductibles of $2,000 or more. Further, one in five people with employer-backed health insurance say their plans have the highest deductible amounts, and half of the people with the highest deductible employer-sponsored plans say they find it difficult to afford their medical care, health insurance, or have issues paying their medical bills.
More Affordable Options Available
Clearly, affordability is a major health insurance hurdle for many Americans. Luckily, there are more affordable alternatives available for those who are eligible, and health sharing ministries are becoming an increasingly popular option.
More than two million Americans are now members of a healthcare sharing ministry. Those finding the costs of health insurance to be a major financial burden will be happy to know that with health sharing, they can save as much as 30% to 40% compared to the cost of traditional health insurance.
If you’re ready to learn more about health sharing ministries, speak with a representative from USHealthShare to discuss your options and learn how to share the health.