Healthline Survey Reveals Majority of Consumers Would Forgo Medical Treatment Due to High Healthcare Costs

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New Survey Explores Consumer Opinions about Affordable Care Act and State of U.S. Health Insurance

Through Healthline.com’s survey, the issue of cost emerged as an important factor beyond health insurance selection decisions, playing a big role in medical and treatment decisions as consumers take on more responsibility for the cost of care.

Healthline, a leading provider of intelligent health information and technology solutions, today released results from a recent survey(1) exploring consumer thoughts about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and health insurance. Conducted ahead of the 2015 open enrollment season via Healthline.com, the survey examined important health insurance issues, including top factors impacting health plan selection, satisfaction with current plan options, consumer understanding of the ACA, perceived impact of the ACA, and overall thoughts about the U.S. health insurance system.

Healthline.com’s survey revealed interesting findings on the state of health insurance in the U.S.

Highlights include:

  • Cost trumps health when it comes to making health decisions – When asked whether consumers would pay a larger premium or a higher deductible for “better” health insurance, nearly 69 percent of respondents said they would not or are not sure. In fact, more than half of consumers (50.8 percent) reported they would forgo medical treatment due to high costs or coverage limitations from their health plans. Of those who would forgo medical treatment, 57 percent currently have health insurance through their employers.(2)
  • Americans are still unclear about the ACA – A quarter of survey respondents, which is equivalent to almost 59 million Americans, indicated that they have a poor understanding or no understanding at all of the ACA and what it involves. Surprisingly, nearly 40 percent of those without health insurance(2) and 26 percent of those enrolled in an ACA plan(2) reported having a poor understanding or no understanding at all of the ACA. Less than a third of those surveyed (32 percent) feel that the ACA will actually have a positive impact on U.S. healthcare.
  • There is a great deal of room for improvement – When asked to grade the U.S. health insurance and open enrollment system, approximately 82 percent gave it a “C” or below, including almost 20 percent who rated the system an “F.”
  • Despite issues, most Americans are not planning to switch health plans – Nearly 77 percent of survey respondents indicated that they are satisfied with their current health insurance plan, with the majority (56.5 percent) finding the deductible in their current plan reasonable or inexpensive. Overwhelmingly, nearly 84 percent of those with an ACA plan(2) are satisfied with their current plan. Only about nine percent of consumers plan to switch to a different health insurance during the upcoming open enrollment season.

“These survey results highlight persisting consumer confusion about health plan enrollment in general and the Affordable Care Act in particular. With the ACA in full swing and open enrollment season approaching, it is critical for consumers to understand the impact that the ACA will have on their health coverage and prepare to make intelligent decisions around health plan options,” said Dean Stephens, CEO of Healthline. “Through Healthline.com’s survey, the issue of cost emerged as an important factor beyond health insurance selection decisions, playing a big role in medical and treatment decisions as consumers take on more responsibility for the cost of care. By arming consumers with the right information, they would be able to make more informed choices around low-cost healthcare.”

For additional survey data and an infographic illustrating key survey findings, visit http://www.healthline.com/health/open-enrollment.

About Healthline
Healthline provides intelligent health information and technology solutions that help healthcare organizations and everyday people make more informed healthcare decisions, improve outcomes and reduce costs. Powered by the world’s largest medical taxonomy platform, Healthline’s Data Solutions, Engagement Solutions and Marketing Solutions leverage advanced concept-mapping technology to deliver accurate, actionable insights. Additionally, the company’s consumer website, Healthline.com, delivers relevant, timely health information, news and resources to help consumers manage their health. Healthline is currently used by more than 25 million consumers per month and some of healthcare’s largest brands, including Microsoft, IBM, GE, AARP, Aetna, UnitedHealth Group and Elsevier. For more information, please visit corp.healthline.com and http://www.healthline.com.

(1) The survey was conducted among 490 U.S. consumers during October 24 – November 4, 2014. Statistical significance is 95% ± 5%.

(2) Indicates additional data segments can be used directionally.

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Pauline Louie
Healthline
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