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Americans cite high costs as barrier to getting health care

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Posted at 1:09 PM, Feb 27, 2023

More Americans are having a hard time affording medical bills, according to data released by AccessOne last week.

The survey found 43% of respondents said a medical bill of $249 is the most they could afford with confidence.

It's leading many to skip the doctor's office altogether. The survey found that 80% of respondents say availability of affordable, long-term payment plans would make a difference in whether they decide to seek care.

"As you've thought about health care in the past, it's sort of counter-recessionary or recession resistant," said Mark Spinner, CEO of AccessOne.

He said trends shifted during the pandemic and with inflation. AccessOne added that high inflation is impacting Americans’ ability to pay medical bills.

As a result, they're skipping prescriptions, delaying care and prioritizing groceries and other expenses over their health.

"I think the concern is just long-term public health, the long-term effects of not doing the things that you should do from a preventative care perspective, from a medication adherence perspective,” said Spinner.

He says most health care systems offer some form of payment assistance.

"People need to step forward and self-advocate in these conversations and get to the business office staff, get to someone at the health system if you need to go to inpatient care and have a direct conversation with them about your benefits, what kind of liability may get generated and what the health system offers in terms of payment assistance,” he said.