More Than 1 in 4 Americans Postpone Medical Treatment Because of the Expense

63 percent say their condition is serious

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December 10, 2017

More than one in four Americans, or 29 percent, hold off seeking medical treatment because of the cost, according to a poll from Gallup.

Of the 29 percent of Americans who forgo seeing the doctor, 63 percent say their medical condition is either somewhat or very serious.

"The figure has been stable over the past decade, ranging from 29 percent to 33 percent since 2006," Gallup explains. "The percentage of adults who put off medical treatment had been lower before that, including 22 percent in 1991 and 19 percent in 2001."

Only 35 percent said their condition was not very serious or not at all serious.

The poll also finds that a higher percentage of women, 33 percent, put off treatment due to cost than the 22 percent of men who do.

"The differences by gender do not appear to result from differences in the type of health care available to men and women," Gallup states. "No differences exist in the kind of insurance they have either—be it private, government, or none at all—which, Gallup has found, affects the likelihood of whether an adult will put off seeking medical treatment."

The data also shows that women are still more likely to put off treatment than men, regardless of whether or not they have a child under 18. Gallup suggests that women may be putting off care for themselves or for their family due to higher costs.

"According to The Commonwealth Fund, a health care research foundation, women require more health care services and pay higher out-of-pocket medical costs during their reproductive years than men do," Gallup explains. "Women's more frequent health care needs and higher cost potentially help explain why they end up being more likely to postpone needed medical care."

Gallup says that just because women are more likely to put off receiving medical care than men, they aren't less satisfied with their health insurance.

"Congress may want to take note of the disparity as debate over U.S. health care policy continues—and as women's health issues have been flashpoints in conversations about access, cost and representation," Gallup says.

Published under: Health Care , Medicaid