As has been reported here previously, the cost of healthcare regularly creates financial stress for U.S. households. The Great Recession made matters more difficult. Even with insurance coverage, falling ill frequently means trouble with medical bills and debt.
For hospitals, that translates to write-offs for patients who cannot pay. Healthcare executives, analysts and actuaries have also said a noticeable slowdown in healthcare spending that accompanied the weak economy suggests that households may be delaying medical care.
Delays appear to be widespread among older adults who lack insurance. That's according to a new analysis of access to care and financial distress among adults age 55 and older. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation analyzed survey data from the Center for Studying Health System Change for adults ages 55 to 64 and seniors covered by Medicare.
The analysis, published in a recent report, compared survey responses for uninsured and privately insured older adults too young for Medicare. Adults were asked if they had unmet medical needs, delayed seeking care, had difficulty paying for prescriptions or if their household struggled with medical bills.
Unsurprisingly, uninsured older adults were more likely to report access and financial problems. Nearly all uninsured adults who struggled with access said the reason was cost.
Here's a look at comparisons:
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