COVID-19 pandemic led many to delay medical care

More than a third of adults report they’ve delayed or forgone health care either due to fear of COVID-19 infection or their physician offering limited services during the pandemic.

A study by the Urban Institute has found that more than a third of nonelderly adults have forgone or delayed medical care due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

According to the report, as of September, 36 percent of adults reported delaying or forgoing health care because they were worried about COVID-19 infection or because their physician offered limited services due to the pandemic.

An even larger portion (40.7 percent) of respondents with one or more chronic conditions reported they’ve delayed or forgone care, while 56.3 percent of respondents with both a physical and a mental health condition have done the same, the report says.

Black adults were more likely (39.7 percent) to report forgoing or delaying care than Hispanic (35.5 percent) or White (34.3 percent) adults and more likely to report forgoing or delaying multiple types of care with 28.5 percent compared to 22.3 percent and 21.1 percent respectively, according to the report.

The most common type of medical care delayed or forgone was dental with 25.3 percent, followed by visiting their primary care physician or specialist with 20.6 percent, and receiving preventive health screenings or medical tests with 15.5 percent, the report says.

Respondents with one or more chronic health conditions like hypertension, diabetes, respiratory illness, heart disease, cancer, kidney disease, and mental health disorders made up the vast majority (76 percent) of those who have delayed or forgone health care.

Delaying and forgoing care isn’t without its dangers as 32.6 percent of respondents say that doing so has worsened one or more of their health conditions or limited their ability to work or do other daily activities, according to the report.