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Americans wait longer for doctor's visits, study finds

Posted On Fri, November 19, 2010

A study by the Commonweath Fund reveals that in comparison to other industrialized countries, the U.S. falls short in regards to access to healthcare.

More than 90 percent of Swiss adults said they could see a doctor within 48 hours when they became ill. However, less than 60 percent of U.S. respondents said they could obtain access to their doctor as quickly.

When it comes to seeing a specialist, however, the U.S. is on par with Germany and the U.K., with at least 70 percent saying they were able to have an appointment within a month.

Commonwealth Fund senior vice president Cathy Schoen says the study indicates areas where the healthcare system can improve.

"The U.S. is the only country in the study where having health insurance doesn't guarantee you access to health care or financial protection when you're sick. This is avoidable - other countries have designed their insurance systems to value access and limit out-of-pocket costs."

Costs for healthcare in the U.S. have continuously increased over the years. With healthcare reform taking place, a number of employers have announced they are shifting higher costs onto their employees, forcing them to pay higher premiums.

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