Hard Choices: Majority of Consumers Have Avoided Needed Health Care Due to Cost

Nearly two-thirds of consumers have skipped medical care or avoided filling prescriptions in the past due to cost, a new eHealth survey shows.

The troubling statistic underscores the extent to which cost considerations can directly impact Americans’ health. The survey was conducted in July. More than 800 customers who purchased Affordable Care Act-compliant plans on eHealth responded.

Among those who’ve been compelled to forego care or medications because of cost, women were more likely to have done so than men (69 percent versus 53 percent), as were those who received ACA subsidies (72 percent) compared to those who don’t (60 percent).  

Nearly half of those responding (48 percent) said the cost of deductibles and copays was their biggest concern when they needed medical care. About a quarter (25 percent) cited the cost of monthly premiums as their top concern. Just 3 percent worried about the cost of prescriptions.


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Other findings from the survey:

  • More than a third (36 percent) of respondents said they’ve had to pay out a full annual deductible at some point in the past
  • 64 percent have never reached their full annual deductible

Average deductibles for individuals and families are high. According to eHealth’s Health Insurance Price Index Report for the 2019 open enrollment period, unsubsidized eHealth customers selected plans with deductibles averaging $4,320 for individual coverage and $8,071 for family coverage.


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Family Premiums


The frightening reality is that the majority of consumers report not having enough savings to pay for their full deductible in any case: Two thirds (66 percent) said they have $4,000 or less in savings; 56 percent said they have $2,000 or less in savings.

To see the full survey results, click here.

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