22% of Americans received better health insurance

The survey shows that many received more regular health care thanks to the increase in insurance coverage

A HealthCare.com survey of 1,005 Americans found that 22% of them received more regular health care thanks to better access to insurance during the pandemic. This comes as a result of the federal government’s elimination of health insurance subsidies and the expansion of Medicaid during the public health emergency COVID-19.

The number of uninsured fell from 13 percent in the 2020 survey to 8 percent in 2022, according to the survey. Individuals with Marketplace plans (ACA) rose from 5% in 2020 to 8% in 2022, while people on Medicaid increased from 12% of the senior population in 2020 to 19% in 2022.

The number of respondents classifying health insurance as their biggest expense fell from 39% in 2020 to 26% in 2022, according to the report.

Despite the increase in coverage, health care financing remains a problem. Among the uninsured, for example, 51% of respondents said the reason they couldn’t afford health insurance was because it was too expensive.

In addition, many adults in the US also have medical debt. The study found that percentage rose from 28% of the population in 2020 to 42% in 2022. Among American adults with medical debt, 39% have debt over $1,000 and 6% over $10,000.

One cause of medical debt is surprise medical bills. The survey found that 50% of Americans had unexpected medical bills in the past year. Among them, 15% received up to $500 in surprise medical bills, 17% received surprise medical bills of $501-$2000, 10% of $2001-$10,000, and 4% of $10,001-$20,000, and 3% received surprise medical bills in last year over $20,000.

Many Americans do not have the savings to pay medical bills. The survey found that 26% have no savings at all for emergency medical bills, 15% have just $1-$500, while on the flip side, 16% of US adults have more than $6,000.

About 31% of respondents said they did not know how to pay for a serious illness, while 24% would pay with a credit card and 16% would borrow money from family. About half (49%) of Americans also skip a range of activities to afford health care, with 23% of respondents giving up travel and another 23% of entertainment to afford health care, followed by major purchases (18%) .

Others are giving up on Christmas presents (16%), food (16%), home repairs (14%), fitness (14%) and rent (9%).

While some Americans have received more regular health care thanks to improved access to health insurance during the pandemic, many are still forgoing health care. The survey showed that 53% of respondents had missed health services in the past year.

Among them, 29% refused dental services, 21% vision, 17% laboratory tests, 15% emergencies, 12% preventive and 10% skipped elective health care.

As in previous surveys, this year’s survey shows that younger Americans struggle the most with health care finances. 51% of millennials, 47% of Gen Xers and 44% of Gen Zs say they have medical debt. This compares to just 35% of the Silent Generation and 29% of Baby Boomers.

Also at 61%, Millennials are the most likely to experience surprise medical bills, followed by Gen Z at 56% and Gen X at 51%. This compares to 43% for the Silent Generation and 37% for Boomers.

Younger Americans are more likely to say they benefited from new health insurance subsidies and expanded Medicaid introduced during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

34% of Millennials said they received more regular health care thanks to better access to health insurance during the pandemic, along with 24% of Gen Z. This compares to 17% each of Gen X and Boomer respondents, and 16% of Silent Generation.

“These results make it clear that younger generations, many of whom are skipping health care for financial reasons, have benefited from the government’s pandemic health measures,” HealthCare.com senior vice president of insurance Deirdre Ragan said in a statement.

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