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January 10, 2022

Survey: Mainers fret about health care costs

Health care affordability weighs on Mainers across income levels, with a new survey finding that nearly two-thirds of respondents reported burdens associated with health care affordability in the past year and even more fret about future costs. 

The survey of 926 Maine adults, conducted from Oct. 18 to Oct. 28, was completed by Altarum’s Healthcare Value Hub in partnership with Consumers for Affordable Health Care in Maine.

The survey found that 63% of respondents experienced one or more healthcare affordability issues in the past year; 80% were worried about affording health care in the future; and 59% were worried about affording treatment for COVID-19 if they need it.

“Residents at all income levels are struggling to pay for medical care and affordability burdens affect a majority of residents, regardless of insurance status,” said Elise Lowry, Health Policy Analyst at the Healthcare Value Hub. 

“While Maine’s governor and the legislature have taken important steps to address rising health care costs, including expanding coverage options, passing legislation that created a Prescription Drug Affordability Board in Maine, and providing small businesses with subsidies to help pay monthly insurance premiums, this survey shows more needs to be done," said Ann Woloson, executive director of Consumers for Affordable Health Care. 

Other key findings of the statewide survey indicated that about half of uninsured adults, or 51%, cited “too expensive” as the major reason for not having coverage, far exceeding other reasons like “don’t need it” and “don’t know how to get it.”

More than half of Maine adults, or 55%, encountered one or more cost-related barriers to getting healthcare during the 12 months leading up to the survey, including skipping needed dental care, delaying going to the doctor or having a procedure done, skipping a recommended medical test or treatment or cutting pills in half, skipping doses of medicine or not filling a prescription.

Four in five Maine adults, or 80%, said they were worried or very worried about being able to afford health care in the future, including not being able to afford nursing or home care services, that health insurance will become too expensive, or not being able to afford medical costs associated with a serious illness or accident. 

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January 10, 2022

Let's just agree that our nation has a huge healthcare gap, between what it is capable of delivering in medical care and technology and what most Americans can actually afford to pay for, insurance premiums included.

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