Latest Survey: Nearly Half of American Adults Struggle with Health Care Costs

February 13, 2024

Voices for Affordable Health often hears from consumers who are not filling a prescription or not seeing their doctor because they’re worried about the cost. They aren’t alone.

Recent polling data from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) shows nearly half of adults struggle to afford health care expenses.

For many, the high cost of health care isn’t just a matter of inconvenience—it means that many adults – one in four – report having to skip medical care because they can’t afford it. Even those with insurance coverage aren’t immune.

On top of that, 1 in 5 adults said they can’t afford their prescription drug medications. This dilemma often leads individuals to make difficult choices, such as opting for over-the-counter remedies or rationing their prescriptions—a risk with potential health consequences.

To top all of that off, health care debt plagues a significant portion of the population, particularly among marginalized groups such as Black and Hispanic people, women, and those with lower incomes. Half of adults say they wouldn’t be able to cover a $500 expense without going into debt.

Moreover, as the population ages, concerns about long-term care and support services intensify. Many older adults worry about the costs associated with nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

In light of these challenges, it’s clear that health care affordability isn’t just a policy issue—it’s a matter of well-being. As always, Voices for Affordable Health advocates for policymakers, healthcare providers, and consumers to work together to find sustainable solutions that ensure affordable, quality health care for all Americans.

Have you found it difficult to pay for health care? Share your story with us.