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Medical Costs Cause One-Third of Adults to Delay Treatment

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Record numbers of U.S. adults report delaying medical treatment due to the cost, according to a Gallup report published Dec. 9.

A third of all respondents to Gallup’s survey affirmed they had “put off any sort of medical treatment because of the cost [they] would have to pay,” with 25% of respondents saying they had delayed treatment for a very or somewhat serious condition.

These are both all-time highs, with the 33% delaying any type of treatment matching 2014’s response and the 25% delaying treatment for serious conditions surpassing the previous high in 2014 by three points.

Both decisions have seen significant increases since 2001, when 19% of respondents said they had delayed any type of treatment and 12% said they put off treatment for serious conditions.

Lower income households are significantly more likely to have delayed treatment, with 36% of households earning less than $40,000 annually having done so for serious conditions, compared to 25% of households earning between $40,000 and $100,000, and 13% of those earning $100,000 or more.

Democrats (34%) were significantly more likely than Republicans (25%) or independents (15%) to put off treatment – or have a family member do so – for a serious medical condition.

This publication follows another Gallup report published in November finding that 34 million (13.4% of the U.S. population) knew at least one person who died as a result of not having funds to pay for treatment.

The margin of error is plus-or-minus 4%.

The full report is available here.