- Nearly half of people responding to a new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation said someone in their household has skipped or put off medical care due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Of those, 11% said the condition got worse as a result.
- About 32% of those who have postponed care said they would get the service in the next three months (14% within the next month) and 10% said they will do so in four months to a year. Only 1% said they will not reschedule.
- The survey also showed strong support for Medicaid. More than half of those polled said the program was important to them and nearly three-quarters of those asked said they opposed cuts to Medicaid funding. In states that have yet to expand the program under the Affordable Care Act, two-thirds of respondents said they want to see expansion in their state.
The results highlight the challenges faced by providers desperate to return to a sense of normalcy and restart non-emergency care that had all but been halted in recent months.
As most states lift stay-at-home orders, the death toll from the pandemic is still rising and expected to top 100,000 in the U.S. in coming days.
As states have begun opening up and loosening restrictions, hospitals and medical practices worry patients are still wary of going for care even if it's now readily available. Nearly 40% from a recent Alliance of Community Health Plans survey said they would postpone care for at least six months.
Providers have taken to measures like testing patients, temperature checks and redesigned spaced out waiting rooms to help put people at ease.
Of all those responding to KFF's latest survey, 11% said that since February they have had problems paying medical bills, while 9% had trouble affording health insurance and 8% had difficulty buying prescription medications. Among those who had lost income or had a spouse who had lost income, those numbers rose to 23%, 15% and 13%, respectively.
The financial struggles reflect more than 20 million Americans losing their jobs, and potentially health insurance, in April, pushing the unemployment rate to nearly 15%.
One-fourth of respondents said they had skipped a meal, visited a food bank or applied for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. People also reported trouble paying for utilities and housing. Research on the social determinants of health shows how impactful such measures can be on health outcomes.
With the U.S. Supreme Court set to hear arguments on the constitutionality of the ACA this fall, public views on the law remain split as they have been since 2019. About half of the public have a favorable view and 41% view it unfavorably, according to KFF.
And a little more than five months before the presidential election, the survey showed 56% support a "Medicare-for-All" policy and 68% favor a public option as is supported by presumptive Democratic nominee former Vice President Joe Biden.
KFF surveyed nearly 1,200 people from May 13 to May 18 in a sample with a margin or error of plus or minus three percentage points.