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US adults most likely to forgo care due to cost, have trouble paying medical bills
Date:11/18/2010

New York, NY, November 18, 2010A new 11-country survey from The Commonwealth Fund finds that adults in the United States are far more likely than those in 10 other industrialized nations to go without health care because of costs, have trouble paying medical bills, encounter high medical bills even when insured, and have disputes with their insurers or discover insurance wouldn't pay as they expected. According to the report, the findings highlight the need for Affordable Care Act reforms that will ensure access to health care, protect people from medical debt, and simplify health insurance.

The U.S. stands out for the most negative insurance-related experiences. One third (33%) of U.S. adults went without recommended care, did not see a doctor when sick, or failed to fill prescriptions because of costs, compared to as few as 5 percent to 6 percent in the Netherlands and the U.K., according to the study published today as a Health Affairs Web First article. In addition, one-fifth of U.S. adults had major problems paying medical bills, compared to 9 percent in France, the next highest country, 2 percent in the U.K., 3 percent in Germany, and 4 percent in the Netherlands. Uninsured and insured U.S. adults reported equally high rates of out-of-pocket costs, with one-third (35%) of U.S. adults paying $1,000 or more out-of-pocket in the past year for medical bills, significantly higher than all of the other countries.

The study analyzes findings from the Commonwealth Fund 2010 International Health Policy Survey in Eleven Countries, focusing on insurance and access to health care experiences reported by 19,700 adults from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. The study reveals widespread disparities by income within the United States. Lower income U.S. adults were far more likely than those with above average incomes to report difficulty with me
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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

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