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New international health survey of sicker adults: Those with a medical home fare better
Date:11/8/2011

pared with between 1 percent and 14 percent of adults in the other 10 countries. And more than one-third (36%) spent more than $1,000 on medical costs, compared with fewer than 10 percent in France, Sweden, and the U.K., the countries with the lowest ratesa reflection, the authors say, of high cost-sharing and high uninsured rates in the U.S.

In the U.S., cost-related access problems and medical bill burdens reported in the survey were concentrated among adults under age 65. Compared to adults 65 or older with Medicare coverage, under-65 adults were far more likely to go without care because of the cost or to have problems paying medical bills. Half of U.S. adults under 65 (51%) went without care because of costs, compared to 19 percent of adults age 65 or older; 35 percent of those under 65 had problems with medical bills, compared with only 6 percent of adults 65 or older. Whether insured all year or uninsured, under-65 sicker adults in the U.S. were at high risk for access problems, bill concerns, or high out-of-pocket costs.

"Despite spending far more on health care than any other country, the United States practically stands alone when it comes to people with illness or chronic conditions having difficulty affording health care and paying medical bills," said Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis. "This is a clear indication of the urgent need for Affordable Care Act reforms geared toward improving coverage and controlling health care costs. It is crucial that as reforms are implemented, we control costs in ways that ensure those facing serious and chronic illness have affordable access to the health care they need and that preserve the gains made by Medicare."

Other Findings: Access to Health Care and Care Coordination

The survey found wide variations in access, coordination, and patient-reported medical errors.

  • Despite having very different health care systems, the U.K. and Switzerland were leaders in
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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

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