Americans Blame Insurers, Drug Cos. for Health Costs

March 29, 2010

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Financial Services | Pharma & Healthcare

Almost three-quarters of US adults are worried about increasing health insurance/care costs and primarily blame insurance and drug companies, according to a recent Harris Interactive/HealthDay survey.

Health Cost Worries are High
When asked how worried, if at all, they are about having to pay more for healthcare and/or health insurance, 27% of respondents said they are “extremely worried.” Another 17% are “very worried” and 27% are “somewhat worried.” All told, a combined 71% of respondents have some level of worry about health care and health insurance costs going up.

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Another 15% of respondents are “not too worried” while only 8% are “not at all worried.” Ten percent do not have or do not pay for health care/health insurance costs.

Private Industry Seen as Cause
Despite recent highly publicized debate on the potential pros and cons of increased government involvement in health insurance, a majority of respondents lay the blame for rising health insurance premiums on private companies.

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Increased profits of health insurance and drug companies were each blamed by 58% of respondents as a main reason for rising premiums (more than one response to this question was allowed). Higher prices charged by hospitals followed with blame assigned by 51% of respondents.

The legal industry came in for indirect blame by 44% of respondents, who cited increased tests, treatments and procedures ordered by doctors due to fear of malpractice. Increased marketing and advertising spending by drug companies was mentioned by 42% of respondents.

The most popular patient-associated reason for higher health insurance premiums was the increased demand for healthcare due to the aging population, selected by 41% of respondents. Other patient-associated reasons included the increasing number of overweight/obese people (37%), coverage of medical care expenses for young people with no insurance (28%), and increased usage of medical services by patients (18%). About one-third (30%) of respondents cited increased government regulation of health care.

Insurers, Drug Companies Take Heat
When asked to select specific people and groups responsible for increased health insurance/care costs, 71% of respondents chose insurance companies and 63% chose drug companies (more than one response to this question was allowed). No other person or group received more than a 50% rating; hospitals came in third with 42% of respondents holding them responsible. Politicians came in for some blame with Congress (35%), President Obama (21%) and President Bush (19%) all being held responsible by one-fifth or more of respondents.

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One-Quarter of Americans Expected Higher Medical Bills in Feb.
About one-quarter of American adults expected to spend the same or more medical bills and healthcare in February 2010 as they did in January 2010, according to the January 2010 American Express Spending & Saving Tracker.

Out of the 49% of the general US population who said they would spend the same or more money in the next 30 days, 49% said they would spend the same or more money on medical bills and healthcare. This means that about one-quarter of the entire general US population expected to spend the same or more on medical bills and healthcare in February 2010 as in January 2010. Another 50% of the portion saying they would spend the same or more money indicated they would spend the same or more on the related category of child and elder care.

About the Survey: This survey was conducted online within the US March 11-15, 2010 among 2,389 adults aged 18 and older. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

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