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

November 5, 2019

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

According to results from anew Freedom Debt Relief surveyon Americans’ use of, and opinions on, the existing healthcare system, 87%of people said that the cost of healthcare is a national emergency. When polledon the importance of key issues, they overwhelmingly put affordable healthcareat 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 2020began Friday, Nov. 1, and runs through Sunday, Dec. 15. Thirty-five percent ofeligible respondents in the survey said they are likely or very likely toswitch their health insurance plan this year. Consumers also are looking forchanges in their health insurance plans: More than half want to reduce theirdeductible, 44% want to lower their monthly payment, 31% want to expandcoverage 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.

Thosesurveyed have done the following becauseof 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 thetotal cost of the procedure was unclear beforethe procedure, while 24% said the cost was unclear after the procedure. Of the 22% who had a dentalprocedure/operation in the past year, almost a fifth (17%) said the cost wasunclear before the procedure, and 14%said the cost was unclear after theprocedure.

Inaddition, 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 costof 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 MichaelMicheletti, director of corporate communications for Freedom Debt Relief. “Whenfaced with mounting healthcare costs, the reality is that consumers must turnto credit cards for other expenses,” he explains. Accordingto the survey, more than half the respondents already have credit card debt,and almost a third said the biggest barrier for increasing their savingsis everyday expenses. “These results should provide an eye-opening view on thegrim reality and far-reaching consequences of rising healthcare costs.”

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

Freedom Debt Relief

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

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

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