Study: Even With Insurance, Too Many Americans Skipping Doctor Appointments, Not Refilling Prescriptions

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The diagnosis of health care in America? Still way too expensive.

New research published this morning by The Commonwealth Fund confirmed what too many Americans already know: Paying for health care is a serious problem for the working class, regardless of how they get their coverage.

The researchers found that 21 percent of adults with health coverage spend 5 percent or more of their income on out-of-pocket costs—not including premiums—and 13 percent spent 10 percent or more of their income on out-of-pocket costs.  

The problem, according to the research, is most common among low-income adults, with a whopping 41 percent of those who made less than $11,490 a year spending 5 percent or more of their income on out-of-pocket costs, and 31 percent spending 10 percent of more.

If there is any good news in the research, it is that most of the people in the study confirmed that they had employer-sponsored health insurance, while others had plans secured through the Affordable Care Act marketplace or Medicaid or some other form of coverage.

The really bad news is that even those low- and moderate-income adults with high out-of-pocket costs are skipping their care or medications. Among those with yearly incomes of less than $22,980, 28 percent did not fill a prescription, 28 percent skipped a medical test or follow-up treatment, and 30 percent did not see a doctor when they had a health problem.

Driving the point home this morning was this story from CBS News about a Wisconsin woman whose out-of-network hospital care resulted in a $300,000 bill.