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Americans stressing out over soaring healthcare costs this enrollment season

One of the issues is that while costs are rising, consumers aren't prepared, as many are struggling with rising premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Sixty-two percent of U.S. adults identify healthcare costs as a significant source of stress. One in five adults cannot afford health insurance co-pays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses, including prescription drugs, according to a new survey.

These alarming findings come to light as people across the country prepare for open enrollment, whether through employer-based health insurance, individual insurance or health insurance exchanges.

IMPACT

One of the major findings is that consumers are experiencing rising healthcare costs but aren't prepared for them. One in three adults indicate they have seen an increase in health insurance premiums (35 percent) and out-of-pocket expenses (31 percent).

For the survey, the nonprofit Transamerica Center for Health Studies tapped the opinions of 3,604 adults to better understand the state of healthcare.

Forty-eight percent of adults said they received an unexpected or surprise medical bill they thought would be covered by insurance. Amid rising costs, relatively few people, 31 percent report saving for healthcare expenses.

Sixty-nine percent of U.S. adults are paying for significant healthcare expenses through a variety of means, including savings (35 percent), credit cards (28 percent), disposable income (24 percent), loans from family (8 percent), or a 401k withdrawal (6 percent). Only 27 percent say they don't have significant healthcare expenses.

More than three in five of the uninsured say getting health insurance is too expensive and they can't afford it.

Pre-existing conditions are a concern for a lot of people. The most oft-cited "biggest fear" among 35 percent of adults regarding health policy/law is losing their insurance because of a pre-existing condition. Overall, 62 percent report having a chronic illness.

THE TREND

Healthcare has been an important issue for voters as midterm elections near, and that was reflected in the survey. Forty-one percent are in favor of the ACA and 30 percent against it, while, 56 percent do not believe the government should mandate health coverage.

The top three things adults would like to see in healthcare policy include pre-existing condition coverage (45 percent), annual out-of-pocket limits (35 percent), and expansion of Medicare for seniors (34 percent). Amid reports of high prescription drug costs, 79 percent feel pharmaceutical companies are responsible.
 

Twitter: @JELagasse

Email the writer: jeff.lagasse@himssmedia.com

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