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

earing directly from adults around the world, and what we hear regularly at home, is that there is substantial room for improvement in the U.S. health insurance system," said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. "The good news is that there are opportunities to learn from other countries, and Affordable Care Act reforms will provide affordable insurance options for the uninsured, make sure insurance pays for essential care, and provide financial security for millions."

U.S. Lags Other Countries in Access to Care When Sick; Leads with Other Countries in Access to Specialists

Looking beyond how health insurance affects access to health care, the survey found substantial differences among countries on access to care when sick, access after hours, and wait times for more specialized care.

  • Swiss, New Zealand, Dutch, and U.K. adults were the most likely to report same- or next-day access to doctors when sick, with 70 percent of adults in the U.K and 93 percent of Swiss adults reporting rapid access. In contrast, only 57 percent of adults in Sweden and the U.S., and less than half in Canada and Norway were seen this quickly.

  • Reflecting national policy requirements for after-hours care arrangements, about two-thirds of Dutch, New Zealand, and U.K. adults found it easy to get care after hours without going to the emergency room. In contrast, two-thirds of Swedish, Canadian, French, and U.S. adults said it was difficult.

  • Regarding specialists, in addition to the U.S., German, Swiss, U.K, and Dutch adults reported typically rapid access to specialists with 70 percent to 83 percent of adults in all five countries reporting they were seen in less than four weeks.

ADDITIONAL SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS

Confidence in Affording Care and Getting Effective Care When Needed

  • Only 58 percent of U.S. adults were confident they would be able to afford the care they ne
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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

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