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Cost Concerns Keep U.S. Adults from Seeking Medical Care for Possible COVID-19

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Potential costs are hindering some U.S. adults from seeking medical care for symptoms associated with COVID-19, according to a Gallup report published April 28.

Respondents were presented with two questions:

  • If you or a family member had a fever and a dry cough would you avoid seeking treatment due to concerns about the cost of care?
  • If you thought that you might have been infected by the coronavirus, would you avoid seeking treatment due to concerns about the cost of care?

Fourteen percent of all U.S. adults said they would avoid seeking medical care for a fever and dry cough due to the potential costs, while 9% said they would do so for possible coronavirus infection.

Cost concerns preventing medical consultation were most likely among adults aged 18-29 (22% for fever / dry cough; 12% for coronavirus), and least likely among those aged 50-64 (8% and 3%, respectively).

Non-white respondents were more than twice as likely as white respondents not to seek care due to costs – 22% to 10% (respectively) for fever / dry cough and 14% to 6% for coronavirus.

Adults from households with an annual income of $40,000 or less were more than four times as likely as those from households with an income of $100,000 or more to report that they did not seek care due to costs – 22% to 5% (respectively) for fever / dry cough and 14% to 3% for coronavirus.

Only 3% of respondents with a household income above $100,000 reported being “denied care by a hospital or a doctor due to heavy patient volume brought on by the coronavirus outbreak,” compared to 11% of those with household incomes at $40,000 or below.

Gallup’s latest report builds on earlier findings revealing that millions have died in the U.S. due to their inability to pay for healthcare expenses and that one-third delay medical care due to costs.

The full report is available here.