Survey finds cost drives majority of states to delay or forgo medical care

More than half of Wisconsin residents — including those covered by insurance — have delayed or decided to forgo health care because of the cost, according to survey results released Monday.

Some have skipped a medical exam or recommended treatment. Some have cut pills in half, skipped doses of a prescribed medication or decided not to fill a prescription, all fearing they won’t be able to afford the price of their medications, according to Beth Beaudin-Seiler of Altarum, a research organization. nonprofit health care research and analysis. business.

Less well-off people were more likely to report having difficulty affording health care, Beaudin-Seiler said, but higher-income respondents also said they encountered problems with health care affordability, whether in the form of rationing their health care or worries. on the prospect of unaffordable health care spending.

While 62% of respondents with an annual income of less than $75,000 reported such an “affordability burden” in the 12 months preceding the survey, 55% of those with an income of $75,000 to $100,000 $ also reported pressure on health care, as did 52% of people with incomes over $100,000.

“But it’s really important to recognize that health care affordability issues aren’t just experienced by low-income people, they go way back in the income stream,” Beaudin-Seiler said at a conference. press release held on Zoom.

Robert Kraig, Wisconsin Citizen Action

Monday’s press conference was hosted by Wisconsin Citizen Action. “This is a serious issue that really should be addressed by lawmakers,” said Robert Kraig, executive director of the progressive advocacy organization.

In addition to releasing the survey data, the press conference was held to draw attention to a legislative proposal that would add a so-called public option to the list of health care plans available to consumers who purchase their own health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Program. Act (ACA).

“He is moving away from a profit-driven health care system and instead prioritizing the health and well-being of Wisconsin workers,” said Rep. Kristina Shelton (D-Green Bay), who drafted a Public Option Bill in 2021-22. legislative session.

The proposed legislation would include language that moves the Wisconsin health insurance market under the ACA from the federal exchange to a state-run exchange.

A state swap offers opportunities for greater flexibility, according to Kraig. This can include longer or more frequent opportunities for potential customers to purchase insurance as well as the freedom to add more consumer protections for health insurance buyers.

Shelton’s proposed public option is to make BadgerCare – Wisconsin’s version of Medicaid – available for a fee to people whose income exceeds the maximum for which they would be eligible for free coverage under Medicare. state/federal.

Representative Kristina Shelton (photo by Legislative Assembly)
Representative Kristina Shelton (photo by Legislative Assembly)

“He sets an agenda for all Wisconsin residents, regardless of income level,” Shelton said at Monday’s press conference. “And it allows small businesses to buy health care coverage through the state exchange.”

Shelton said he spoke with small business owners and Main Street Alliance, an organizing group for small business owners. “They told us that one of the ways they want to support their employees is to provide health care, but it’s so expensive it’s almost impossible for small businesses to do that,” he said. she declared.

The bill would also create “a basic health plan for childless people earning between 133 and 200 percent of the federal poverty level,” Shelton added.

Shelton said she expects to formally introduce the legislation later this year after the state budget is enacted.

A Legislative Tax Office analysis of Shelton’s previous proposal noted that the proposed public plan would not rely on the state or federal Medicaid budget, but instead would be paid for by premiums from subscribers who enroll.

Beaudin-Seiler said the Altarum survey found a slightly higher percentage of rural residents — 55% — went without care because of cost, compared to 51% of non-rural residents. Similarly, 29% of rural residents did not fill a prescription to make ends meet or cut their pills in half to make them last, compared to 24% of non-rural residents.

Among people of color polled in the survey, 56% went without care due to cost, and 37% skipped, cut or did not buy medicine. By comparison, 51% of whites self-deprived and 24% limited their care.

The Altarum survey was conducted from June 22 to July 6, 2033 in English and Spanish. The survey interviewed 1,113 Wisconsin residents age 18 or older.

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