2 in 5 adults won’t pay for preventive services

If the ACA is forced to drop some preventive services, many adults say they will not pay for them out of pocket

With the fate of the ACA’s preventive services mired in legal limbo, a Morning Consult report found that if those services are removed, many adults will not pay for them out of pocket regardless of cost. Of the 12 preventive services provided by the ACA, at least 2 in 5 of U.S. adults said they are not willing to pay for 11 of them. In addition, half balked at paying for preventive services like tobacco cessation, HIV screenings, depression, and unhealthy drug use.

According to the report, 46% said they would pay for cancer screenings out of pocket, the most of any of the services, while 38% said they would not pay and 15% weren’t sure what they would do.

The ACA requirements for insurance companies to provide preventive services are based on recommended services from the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. But a lawsuit challenged the preventive services requirement, with the judge ruling that service required by USPSTF are unconstitutional, mainly because the task force members are not selected by the president and appointed by the Senate. The final ruling has yet to be issued.

The Morning Consult study found that Americans view preventive care as one of the top health benefits mandated by the ACA, with almost 1 in 4 ranking it as one of the most important services for commercial insurance plans to cover. Emergency services ranked first, followed by prescription drugs and hospital care. Half of adults surveyed indicated they delayed or skipped care because of cost, with 30% saying they did so in the last year. In households that make less than $50,000 annually, 32% said they skipped care last year compared to 22% who make $100,000 or more.

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