Despite worries about skyrocketing medical bills, Americans may not be doing much to change the cost or quantity of the care that they use.
Researchers at the Employee Benefit Research Institute, Washington, and Mathew Greenwald and Associates Inc., Washington, have published statistics hinting at consumers’ lack of action on health care costs in a summary of a telephone survey of 1,000 U.S. residents ages 21 and older.
Participants in the survey, which was underwritten by Principal Financial Group Inc., Des Moines, Iowa, complained about their out-of-pocket health care costs.
The percentage of participants who said the United States has a poor health care system has increased to 31% this year, from 15% in 1998.
The percentage of survey participants who said they are “not at all satisfied” with “health costs not covered by insurance” increased to 32% over the same 8-year period, from 18%.
But the researchers found that consumers still are somewhat more alarmed by the cost of health coverage than by the magnitude of out-of-pocket costs: The percentage of participants who said they are not at all satisfied with the cost of health insurance has jumped to 35% this year, from 13%.
Some participants say rising health care and health coverage costs are having concrete effects on their lives.
The percentage of participants who said health costs are forcing them to cut back on retirement savings efforts has increased to 36% this year, from 25% in 2004, researchers report.