U.S. Adults More Likely to Skip Care Due to High Healthcare Costs


Adults in the United States are far more likely to go without needed healthcare than adults in 10 other high-income countries due to high costs, according to a new survey from The Commonwealth Fund.

In addition, the survey found U.S. adults are also likely to struggle to afford basic necessities like housing and healthy food and are sicker than people in other countries and experience high levels of emotional distress.

The Commonwealth Fund’s 2016 international survey interviewed adults from:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • The Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • The United Kingdom
  • The United States

Approximately one-third (33%) of U.S. adults skipped recommended care, did not visit a doctor when ill, or went without filling prescriptions due to cost. In contrast, about 7% of adults in the United Kingdom and Germany and 8% in the Netherlands and Sweden experienced these cost issues.

“Previous surveys have shown that, especially compared to other industrialized nations, the U.S. has far too many people who can’t afford the care they need, even when they have health insurance,” said Robin Osborn, vice president and director of The Commonwealth Fund’s International Program in Health Policy and Practice Innovations and the study’s lead author. “This survey underscores that we can do better for our sickest and poorest patients, and that should be a high priority in efforts to improve our current system.”


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