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Sick patients noticing issues with finances, care quality

Posted On Mon, June 4, 2012

A report released jointly between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NPR and the Harvard School of Public Health showed that many ill Americans are worried about the financial impacts of their care, as well as receiving the proper attention.

Nearly 90 percent of Americans think that high healthcare costs are a serious issue for the entire nation, according to the report. Another two-thirds of Americans noted that the cost of care has increased in the past five years.

Approximately 40 percent of sick consumers said that their medical care has become a problem for their family's financial situation, the report noted. When splitting that figure up, 20 percent explained that the financial strain was very serious, while 23 percent said it was somewhat serious.

"Listening to the experiences of sick people provides a good barometer of what’s happening in healthcare in America." said Robert Blendon, associate dean at Harvard University. "What is most striking is the significant number of people whose care has not been well-managed, and who have been turned away from care."

Nearly 20 percent of sick consumers noted that they were unable to get the care required for their situation at some point in the past year, according to the report. More than half of those said this was due to affordability issues, while another quarter was because their insurance provider would not help pay for the bill. Furthermore, another 11 percent said that they were turned away by a medical professional due to their insurance.

While many people who are ill need to pay large medical bills, they still could be spending more money than is required. If a person needs to lower their overall costs, it may be a good idea to look for policies with low health insurance rates.

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