Dec. 9 (UPI) — A record 25 percent of U.S. adults said they or a family member delayed treatment for a serious medical condition in the past year because of cost, Gallup said Monday.
The number is up from 19 percent a year ago and the highest in Gallup’s trend data since a high of 22 percent recorded postponing treatment for a serious condition in 2014, data released Monday shows.
The total percentage of households who put off medical care in the past year because of costs was 33 percent, including 8 percent of households who delayed treatment for a less serious condition.
The 33 percent ties with a high from 2014.
In 1991, when Gallup first asked the question, only 11 percent reported they or a family member delayed care for a serious condition, and 22 percent reported they or a family member put off care for any condition.
Delayed treatment for a serious medical condition in households making less than $40,000 a year jumped 13 percentage points to 36 percent from 23 percent the previous year, the data shows, while there was little change in middle and higher-income households.
Only 13 percent in the higher-income group delayed such care, widening the income gap between the higher income and lower-income group this year to 23 percentage points.
The income gap had averaged 17 points in the early years of Barack Obama’s presidency and narrowed to an average 11 points during the Affordable Care Act’s implementation from 2015 to 2018.
“Recent reports of delayed care may have a partisan component,” Gallup Senior Editor Lydia Saad noted in a statement on the data, with most of the recent increase in delayed treatment reported among Democrats.
Reports of delayed care for a serious condition over costs were up 13 points compared with last year among U.S. households with a preexisting condition that started before the person’s health benefits went into effect.
A random sample of 1,015 adults across the United States and District of Columbia were surveyed from Nov. 1-14 for the the new Gallup Poll with a 4 percentage point margin or error.
A separate Gallup Poll reported a few days ago that 43 percent of U.S. households include someone with a preexisting condition.
Last month, Gallup released another poll that showed nearly 35 million U.S. adults know at least one person who died in the last five years because they couldn’t afford medical insurance.