Many piggy banks have been hollowed out due to medical costs spiraling out of control, a new survey suggests.

Despite coverage, Americans paying exorbitantly for medical services

By: Abby Hayes, April 20, 2016

Free health insurance quotes don’t cost consumers a dime. The same can’t be said for Americans’ medical expenses, however, the amounts of which are boring a hole into income earners’ pockets and piggy banks, a new survey suggests.

Nearly 80 percent have delayed vacation to help pay for medical care.”

Even though the uninsured rate is reaching record lows, increased access hasn’t yielded many financial benefits. Nearly two-thirds of Americans who regularly rely on health care services due to problematic medical conditions have used up most or all of their savings, according to a recent poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a California-based nonprofit organization. Conducted jointly with The New York Times, the survey also found that almost 45 percent Americans with coverage have taken on a second job to offset their accumulating health care expenses.

Putting in extra hours on the job site isn’t the only way more Americans have sacrificed. Over three-quarters – 77 percent – have put off vacations or other major household purchases, the KFF poll revealed. The same is true for people who don’t have coverage, only to a lesser extent at 64 percent. Approximately 3 in 4 insured Americans have also cut back on some of the basics, like food, clothing and other essentials, as have 62 percent of health care users who aren’t covered.

Medical treatments costing thousands out of pocket
High-deductible health care plans require recipients to spend a predetermined health insurance estimate or amount before coverage kicks in. Among the insured who are having problems paying for medical treatment, nearly 1 in 3 have spent at least $5,000, according to the KFF survey. This includes 13 percent who have paid at least $10,000.

Many people are having a hard time making ends meet as it is. Of all those with medical expenses over 60 percent are barely meeting their basic expenses, the study determined. Based on a separate poll conducted by Nielsen, approximately 40 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

When the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, supporters of the legislation indicated it would enable hard-working families to save potentially thousands of dollars on their medical bills. That

“Uninsured rate continues to fall.”

projection hasn’t come to pass for many people. Nearly 45 percent of adults in the U.S. – when asked to name the country’s biggest health care problems – cite cost as among its top issues, based on a separate Gallup poll.

Accessibility to health care, meanwhile, has shown substantial improvements. The evidence of this is especially apparent after accounting for when the Affordable Care Act went into effect. Currently, only 11 percent of U.S. adults don’t have health insurance, Gallup reported recently. That’s the lowest rate since the health care law went into effect. More specifically, the uninsured rate has slipped 6 percentage points since 2013, three years after President Barack Obama signed it into law.