Americans Head Into Open Enrollment Deeming Cost of Healthcare a ‘National Emergency’

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San Mateo, Calif., Nov. 6, 2019 – As millions of Americans head into this year’s open enrollment period for healthcare coverage, they are remarkably united in their views on what they want changed, what should be done about rising costs, and the state of healthcare in the country.

According to results from a new Freedom Debt Relief survey on Americans’ use of, and opinions on, the existing healthcare system, 87% of people said that the cost of healthcare is a national emergency. When polled on the importance of key issues, they overwhelmingly put affordable healthcare at the top of the list. A full 95% said it was very important or important, ranking the issue above affordable housing, affordable education, immigration, the environment/climate change and gun control.

Open enrollment for 2020 began Friday, Nov. 1, and runs through Sunday, Dec. 15. Thirty-five percent of eligible respondents in the survey said they are likely or very likely to switch their health insurance plan this year. Consumers also are looking for changes in their health insurance plans: More than half want to reduce their deductible, 44% want to lower their monthly payment, 31% want to expand coverage and 27% seek coverage for their entire family.

Americans have strong opinions about government involvement in healthcare.

87% agree: The government should regulate the cost of drugs.

82% agree: The government should regulate the cost of healthcare.

58% agree: The only way to fix healthcare is to remove the private insurers.

Consumers are making decisions on what type of medical care to get, and when, based on cost.

Those surveyed have done the following because of the cost:

  • 41% have skipped going to the doctor (34% of men compared to 48% of women).
  • 28% have delayed a medical procedure (21% of men compared to 35% of women).
  • 28% have not purchased medicine (23% of men compared to 32% of women).
  • 19% have rationed medicine.
  • 21% have sought out alternative medicine.
  • 39% have skipped a dentist visit (33% of men compared to 45% of women).
  • 37% have delayed a dental procedure (30% of men compared to 43% of women).

Moreover, close to 70% of consumers expect the cost of healthcare to rise further next year. Of Millennials, 61% expect cost increases; 76% of Gen Xers do; 73% of Baby Boomers do.

Healthcare costs are unclear.

More than a third (34%) of those who had a medical procedure/operation in the last year said the total cost of the procedure was unclear before the procedure, while 24% said the cost was unclear after the procedure. Of the 22% who had a dental procedure/operation in the past year, almost a fifth (17%) said the cost was unclear before the procedure, and 14% said the cost was unclear after the procedure.

In addition, 44% of respondents do not know the amount of their annual deductible. One-third (32%) of respondents do not know the amount of their copay.

“The cost of healthcare itself is a major burden on Americans, but the impact is more widespread, ranging from decisions on care to the ability to pay for everyday expenses,” says Michael Micheletti, director of corporate communications for Freedom Debt Relief. “When faced with mounting healthcare costs, the reality is that consumers must turn to credit cards for other expenses,” he explains. According to the survey, more than half the respondents already have credit card debt, and almost a third said the biggest barrier for increasing their savings is everyday expenses. “These results should provide an eye-opening view on the grim reality and far-reaching consequences of rising healthcare costs.”

The online poll, conducted by Atomik Research in September, surveyed 1,507 adults, age 18-75, with and without health insurance, in the United States. A summary of the results, and a downloadable copy of the survey’s raw data, are available.

Freedom Debt Relief

Co-founded by Andrew Housser and Brad Stroh, Freedom Debt Relief part of Freedom Financial Network, LLC, a family of companies providing innovative solutions that empower people to live healthier financial lives. For people struggling with debt, the custom Freedom Debt Relief program offers the chance to significantly reduce and resolve what they owe more quickly than they could on their own. For more information about the company and its services, see www.freedomdebtrelief.com/faq.

Headquartered in San Mateo, California, Freedom Debt Relief also operates an office in Tempe, Arizona, and employs more than 2,400. The company has been voted one of the best places to work in both the San Francisco Bay area and the Phoenix area for several years.

Contact: Michael Micheletti, mmicheletti@freedomfinancialnetwork.com or 415-359-6985.