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25 Percent of Insured Still Can't Afford Medical Care, Report Says

Creative Commons

Twenty-five percent of adults who bought private health insurance plans went without needed care in 2014 because they couldn't afford it , according to a report released Thursday.

Thereport by Families USA analyzes 2014 figures from the Urban Institute's Health Reform Monitoring Survey. The report focused on adults who bought private, non-group health insurance.

Families USA executive director Ron Pollack said high -eductible plans are the key culprit in people foregoing care.

More than half of American adults had deductibles of $1,500 or more, and 30 percent had deductibles of $3,000 or more.

"We've got a significant portion of the insured population not getting the care they need because they can't afford it,"  Pollack said.

In Kentucky, 22 percent of adults reported refraining from or delaying medical care due to cost in the last year, according to a 2014 Kentucky Health Issues poll.

The report found that American adults were most likely to go without the following medical services:

  • Tests, treatment or follow-up care: 15 percent
  • Prescription drugs: 14 percent
  • Medical care: 12 percent
  • General doctor: 12 percent
  • Specialist: 11 percent

When considering income levels, 32 percent of people with low to middle income were also more likely to skip care because of affordability, compared to 22 percent of adults with middle or higher incomes, according to the report.

Kentucky adults living at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level were more likely (32 percent) to skip or delay medical care. That's compared to 24 percent of Kentucky adults living between 138 percent and 200 percent of the FPL.

"Adults with lower to middle income are more harmfully affected by the inability to get needed medical care than those with higher incomes," Pollack said.

The organization outlines several recommendations in the report, including, offering more plans and medical services with low to no cost-sharing.