The Pulse

More Than Half of Americans Have Avoided Medical Care Due To Cost

For most, prices are a priority

New market research from HealthPocket, a consumer search-engine for healthcare. Visit

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Nov. 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — If there is one thing a majority of Americans can agree on, it’s that healthcare costs are too expensive and they want upfront pricing.

HealthPocket, a free information source designed to help consumers find medical coverage today released results of a pulse survey which found that 85% of U.S. adults think that healthcare costs in general are too high. Underscoring that point, 51% of those surveyed have avoided medical care due to lack of ability to pay.

The survey found that prices are a priority, with 91% saying that costs for medical services should be as readily available as prices are on a restaurant menu. In fact, 78% have been afraid to go to the hospital because of cost, with an overwhelming majority (96%) saying that hospitals should be upfront about the cost before treatment. Given the option, 86% said they would compare prices before going to the hospital if prices were posted online.

Four in ten (41%) of those surveyed have been unable to pay a medical bill at some point. Meanwhile, nearly 30% currently have medical debt. When given an option on how medical bills that can’t be paid should be handled, 46% believed they should be put on a payment plan; another one in four (25%) said that the government should pay the doctor or hospital; 13% said the debt should just be forgiven; and 12% said volunteer work should be done in exchange for a discount.

Declaring Bankruptcy To Pay The Bills?

The survey also revealed that three in four (73%) Americans don’t think that someone should have to declare bankruptcy over unpaid medical bills. When asked if unpaid medical bills should impact one’s credit score, a majority (77%) said no. When asked what the best fix is for our healthcare system, only 3% said to leave it as is.

Some other key findings:

  • 71% needed some kind of medical care outside of a routine wellness visit in the last year
  • 49% have used their health insurance two or more times in the last year
  • 11% with medical debt have considered declaring bankruptcy
  • 47% think the government should forgive the $81 billion in past-due medical debt
  • 51% think everyone should have the same healthcare even if they don’t spend the same amount to get it


The entire survey results can be viewed here.






ABOUT HEALTHPOCKET: HealthPocket is a free information source designed to help consumers find medical coverage. Whether you are looking for Medicare, Medicaid or an individual health insurance plan, we will help you compare benefits and coverage, understand your out of pocket healthcare costs and help you to find the right healthcare option. We receive our data from government, non-profit, and private sources, and you should confirm key provisions of your coverage with your selected health plan. If you select an individual plan presented on our site, you will be directed (via a click or a call) to one of our partners who can help you with your application. Our website is not a health insurance agency and not affiliated with and does not represent or endorse any health plan. HealthPocket, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Health Plan Intermediaries Holdings LLC. (NASDAQ: HIIQ)
METHODOLOGY:The results above were gathered through an online poll of 1,100 Americans between the ages of 18-64. The poll was conducted in November 2019 and was weighted to get representative samples from each state based on population.