More Than Half of Americans Have Avoided Medical Care Due To Cost


MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA -- If there is one thing a majority of Americans can agree on, it's that healthcare costs are too expensive and they want upfront pricing. HealthPocket, a free information source designed to help consumers find medical coverage today released results of a pulse survey which found that 85% of U.S. adults think that healthcare costs in general are too high. Underscoring that point, 51% of those surveyed have avoided medical care due to lack of ability to pay.


The survey found that prices are a priority, with 91% saying that costs for medical services should be as readily available as prices are on a restaurant menu. In fact, 78% have been afraid to go to the hospital because of cost, with an overwhelming majority (96%) saying that hospitals should be upfront about the cost before treatment. Given the option, 86% said they would compare prices before going to the hospital if prices were posted online.

Four in ten (41%) of those surveyed have been unable to pay a medical bill at some point. Meanwhile, nearly 30% currently have medical debt. When given an option on how medical bills that can't be paid should be handled, 46% believed they should be put on a payment plan; another one in four (25%) said that the government should pay the doctor or hospital; 13% said the debt should just be forgiven; and 12% said volunteer work should be done in exchange for a discount.

The survey also revealed that three in four (73%) Americans don't think that someone should have to declare bankruptcy over unpaid medical bills. When asked if unpaid medical bills should impact one's credit score, a majority (77%) said no. When asked what the best fix is for our healthcare system, only 3% said to leave it as is.


Some other key findings:

  • 71% needed some kind of medical care outside of a routine wellness visit in the last year
  • 49% have used their health insurance two or more times in the last year
  • 11% with medical debt have considered declaring bankruptcy
  • 47% think the government should forgive the $81 billion in past-due medical debt
  • 51% think everyone should have the same healthcare even if they don't spend the same amount to get it
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