According to a Gallup poll released on Tuesday, a record-breaking number of Americans put off seeking medical care in 2022 because of the prohibitive costs, with those earning less, women, and younger adults being the most affected.
In total, 38 percent of the people surveyed said that they or a family member put off seeking medical treatment due to the costs they would incur. This is the highest such response over the past 22 years that Gallup has been monitoring the trend.
The increase of 12 points from 2021 was the highest year-over-year rise to date, Gallup explained in a release. Patients who put off the treatment of “very” or “somewhat” serious ailments soared to 27 percent. This is in contrast to the 11 percent who opted out of treatment for conditions that were of less concern, with the difference between the two categories being the widest since 2019.
Gallup’s findings came after a study that showed that Americans believe it is difficult and more expensive to pay for medical treatments today, even with health insurance from the companies they work for. Researchers at New York University (NYU) found that in the last 20 years, the percentage of Americans who have health insurance through their jobs but are slacking off on medical treatments is on the rise.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, did not provide a conclusive reason for this trend but did cite the rise in health costs and efforts by insurers to force more of the costs of treatments onto consumers.
President Joe Biden has been pushing for lower costs for healthcare since he took office in 2021. Biden has praised his efforts to pressure insurers and pharmaceutical companies to lower the cost of drugs as well as health-insurance premiums and stop surprise bills.
The Inflation Reduction Act, which seeks to lock in lower healthcare premiums for the millions of people covered under the Affordable Care Act, was signed into law by Biden in August, after overcoming the unanimous opposition of Republican lawmakers.