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When it comes to care delays, consumers blame insurance companies


Doctors and nurses also blame payers for making their job harder

Patients, doctors, and nurses seem to share one sentiment about health care.

Patients are frustrated with insurance company delays: ©Boygostockphoto - stock.adobe.com

Patients are frustrated with insurance company delays: ©Boygostockphoto - stock.adobe.com

They’re faulting insurers for delays in treatment, according to new surveys done by Morning Consult and commissioned by the American Hospital Association.

Patients say delays caused by insurance companies have delayed care. Nearly two out of three consumers (62%) said they have experienced at least one insurance-related barrier to coverage, according to the poll released Tuesday. And 43% of those patients said their healthcare has worsened due to the delay.

More than half of consumers surveyed (55%) said they blame health insurers for delays in health care.

Four out of five doctors (80%) said insurers’ policies affect their ability to treat patients. Most nurses (84%) say insurance policies are delaying treatments for patients, the poll found.

The vast majority of patients (86%) say they want more transparency from insurers about treatments or services that require pre-approval, the process known as prior authorization.

Critics also say prior authorization demands are rising, particularly in increasingly popular Medicare Advantage plans. Most doctors have said prior authorization leads to delays in care, according to previous surveys done by the American Medical Association.

Doctors and nurses say the bureaucratic battles with insurers are siphoning some of their job satisfaction, the new Morning Consult surveys found. More than half (56%) of nurses say they’ve lost job satisfaction due to rising insurance demands, and 84% of doctors say insurers’ policies make it increasingly difficult to manage a solo practice.

Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, says he hopes the surveys offer more evidence that policymakers need to curb insurers’ policies.

“These surveys bear out what we’ve heard for years — certain insurance companies’ policies and practices are reducing health care access and making it more difficult for our already overwhelmed clinicians to provide care,” Pollack said in a statement.

Morning Consult conducted three separate surveys, including polling of 1,502 adult patients, 500 nurses, and 500 doctors. Respondents came from across the country and interviews were conducted online between December 2022 and April 2023, Morning Consult said.

Insurers have argued that prior authorization plays an important role by reducing wasteful spending and ensuring patients don’t undergo unnecessary procedures.

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