Healthcare Indexes Find More Americans Dissatisfied, Struggling to Afford Healthcare

West Health and Gallup, an analytics firm, collaborated on the development of the indexes.

The latest Healthcare Affordability Index and Healthcare Value Index have found that a growing number of Americans are displeased with their healthcare – in addition to its rising cost.

According to the reports, 44% of American adults (an estimated 112 million) are struggling to pay for their healthcare. Another 93% believe they’re not getting their money’s worth. West Health, in collaboration with analytics firm Gallup, gathered and compiled the data from the opinions of 6,600 American adults.

The information provided by both indexes were used to assess the general public’s ability to afford healthcare and their perceptions of “the quality of care relative to cost.”

“Bottom line – Americans are increasingly getting priced out of the system and many of those who can still afford to pay don’t think they’re getting their money’s worth relative to the cost,” Tim Lash, president of West Health, said in a statement. “We must begin to change this trajectory with smarter policies that put patients over profits.”

Both indexes were developed after a report found the rate of individuals refraining from getting needed medical care due to cost tripled in 2021.

According to the Affordability Index, 8% of respondents were considered “cost desperate” – unable to pay for needed treatment, skipped prescribed medication due to cost in the last three months, or if they were unable to afford quality care if they needed it that day.

36% of respondents were considered “cost insurance,” with one or two of the previously stated situations applying to them. Over half of respondents were considered cost secure, with 56% able to consistently access and pay for medication and care.

The Value Index classified respondents according to the quality of care they believe they receive compared to how much they pay.

  • High Perceived Value – 5% of Americans believe their household and others are paying just enough or too little relative to the quality of care they receive, and that their most recent care experience was worth the cost
  • Inconsistent Perceived Value – 50% believe either their household or others are paying too much relative to the quality of care they receive, or that their most recent care experience wasn’t worth the cost
  • Poor Perceived Value – 45% believe both their household and others are paying too much relative to the quality of care they receive, and that their most recent care experience wasn’t worth the cost

“These estimates are important resources for policy makers, researchers, and the public to evaluate and understand the burden of high healthcare costs,” Dan Witters, a senior researcher for Gallup, said in a statement. “The indices paint a comprehensive picture of why Americans are unable to keep pace with the rising costs and don’t see value in the care they are receiving.”

According to the Centers for Medical & Medicaid Services, the current national health spending is estimated to be over $4 trillion. Projections show an increase in spending of 5.5% on average a year, leading to national health spending costing almost $6.2 trillion by 2028.

“Amid these realities, the West Health-Gallup Healthcare Affordability Index and the Healthcare Value Index will serve as ongoing, high-level indicators of the US healthcare system and the American experience,” Witters writes. “West Health and Gallup will continue to track these indices, providing governmental and healthcare leadership with critical assessments of American opinion as policy options are weighed to lower costs and improve outcomes.”

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