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Despite rising insurance rates, many Americans still avoid care for cost reasons


41% of American patients with insurance avoided medical care for fear it wouldn't cover the cost of treatment, according to a new survey.

Today, more Americans have health insurance since the the Affordable Care Act began, however, cost remains an obstacle for many when it comes to getting the care they need.

It was recently discovered that 41% of Americans with health insurance have avoided medical care because they knew or feared it wouldn't be covered by their insurance, according to the annual Policygenius Health Insurance Survey. This is true even among insured Americans whose annual income is $80,000 or more, with 37% saying they avoided care because of cost concerns.

"Health has been on the forefront of everyone's minds with the pandemic, and it's disheartening that people are avoiding care and unaware of what they can get through their insurance, like free COVID-19 tests," Myles Ma, healthcare expert at Policygenius, said in a release.

In some cases, Americans are adjusting their prescriptions to cut costs — 32% of Americans with health insurance said the cost of a prescription has prevented them from taking the full dose of the medication. This was the case even among people who said they get "good financial value" for what they pay for health insurance, with 27% saying the price tag has kept them from taking the full dose of a prescription.

Though,even with these challenges, more than half (57%) of insured Americans at least somewhat agree with the statement "I get good financial value from what I pay for health insurance." How much they agree depends on their coverage, with 61% of those with Medicare or Medicaid at least somewhat agree, compared to 52% with group plans and 47% with individual plans from a state or federal marketplace.

"The variance in value could be based on who is taking on the largest part of the cost for these plans and it makes sense that people feel they get better financial value from heavily subsidized plans," Ma said. "No matter where you get your plan, make sure you know what it includes so you can use every benefit available to you, from preventive care, like vaccines or COVID tests, to extra perks like mental health apps, gym discounts, or health savings accounts. This way, you're not only getting the maximum value out of your plan, but helping your physical and financial well being."

The sixth annual Policygenius Health Insurance Survey also found that:

  • Among insured Americans who have seen a mental health provider, almost half (47%) have had a provider decline to take their insurance.
  • Only 8% of insured Americans are aware you can use the money in a health savings account to invest in the stock market.
  • There's still general confusion on basic health insurance terms, with only 65% of insured people able to correctly define "deductible" (the amount you pay for health care before your insurance starts to pay).
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