Cost Worries Trump Urgent Health Issues on Chase Healthcare Worry Scale Survey
WASHINGTON, D.C./SAN FRANCISCO (January 20, 2014) — Chase Communications, a national public relations and health policy communications firm, and Ed Stevens, a healthcare communications research expert and strategist, have collaborated to create the Chase Healthcare Worry Scale, a survey-based tool for measuring and tracking Americans’ evolving concerns about healthcare and the U.S. healthcare system.
The first Healthcare Worry Scale survey of more than 1,000 Americans nationwide shows that 74% are extremely concerned or very concerned about healthcare, just slightly behind the 79% concerned about the economy and ahead of the 67% about joblessness. In comparison, only 59% are as concerned about terrorism and only 51% about a government shutdown.
The survey also revealed the chief focus of Americans’ specific healthcare worries is not about urgent health issues such as chronic disease, quality of life, caring for aging parents or end of life care. These issues are usurped by alarm over the cost of healthcare and the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – half (49%) say being able to afford healthcare is a major worry. In fact:
- 49% say the impact of the ACA on healthcare is a major worry
- 43% say getting a disease, medical condition, or injury that their healthcare does not fully cover is a major worry
- 93% strongly agree or somewhat agree that healthcare costs will continue to increase, with 61% of this group in the strongly agree category
Only one third worry about fundamental “quality of life” healthcare issues: living longer, but not being healthy (36%); care for a chronic disease such as diabetes or heart disease (35%); a pre-existing condition (30%); healthcare for aging parent (29%); and end of life care (28%).
Enter the ‘Worry Scale’
“We created the Worry Scale to contribute more real-time data regarding Americans’ thoughts and sentiments to our pharmaceutical, medical device, health policy and advocacy clients seeking to interpret the nation’s healthcare concerns, both current and long-term,” stated Chase president and CEO Julie Chase. “The current focus of the healthcare debates has emphasized cost concerns and that has resulted in distraction from urgent issues that will impact Americans’ health and well-being now and over the course of their entire lives: care for chronic diseases, quality of life, aging parents and end of life care. These looming fundamental issues will be far greater reasons for worry than the short-term debate on healthcare costs.”
“After the debates about the ACA are behind us, we will still be faced with the ongoing challenge of meeting Americans’ evolving healthcare needs,” added Ed Stevens. “The Worry Scale will help us to more accurately read the country’s pulse.”
Of Note: Women and “Late Boomers” Worry More Significantly higher levels of concern regarding healthcare issues are expressed by women and by Americans aged 55-64 (also known as “Late Boomers”).
Women are more concerned than men about healthcare and its possible costs:
- 79% are extremely concerned or very concerned about healthcare competed to 69% of men
- 57% feel affording healthcare is a major worry, versus 41% of men
- 49% fear getting a disease, medical condition, or injury that their healthcare does not fully cover, versus 37% of men
Women have long acted as the healthcare gatekeepers for their families, so it is not surprising that they worry more about cost and access issues.
Late Boomers are more concerned than other age groups about healthcare and the ACA:
- 85% are extremely concerned or very concerned about healthcare in general
- 56% say the impact of the ACA on healthcare is a major worry
Boomers — often sandwiched between concerns about their children and about aging parents, as well as facing their own personal concerns about aging and health — are also more concerned than other age groups. The survey showed:
- 42% say care for a chronic disease such as diabetes or heart disease is a major worry
- 43% say living longer, but not being healthy is a major worry
- 33% feel end of life care is a major worry
About the Chase Healthcare Worry Scale
The January 2014 Worry Scale Survey was based on a survey of 1,019 adults (aged 18+) Americans conducted online in December 2013 by ORC International. The data are weighted to reflect the demographic composition of the age 18+ U.S. population. Random samples of this size have a margin of error of +/- 3%. Visit www.chasepr.com