With COVID-19 fears lessening, rising costs are the top reason Americans are deferring medical care. The increasing cost of healthcare and inflation is impacting the average American’s ability to afford it, creating cost barriers for the populations that need care the most. Adults with worse health are twice as likely as those with better health to delay or go without care due to cost reasons [1].

Deferring healthcare ultimately leads to worse patient outcomes and greater long-term healthcare costs. Improving the affordability and accessibility of healthcare is crucial to improving the patient experience and broader population health outcomes. Here’s how LetsGetChecked’s at-home healthcare solutions can help patients access the care they need and reduce overall healthcare spending.

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How rising healthcare costs are impacting Americans

Healthcare costs have risen dramatically in the United States over the past several decades and are expected to keep increasing. In 2020, national healthcare expenditure increased by 9.7% to $4.1 trillion [2]. This number is expected to reach $6.2 trillion by 2028 [3]. In light of this upward projection, there are growing concerns about the provision of fiscally responsible healthcare services that meet acceptable levels of quality, effectiveness, and equity. This healthcare affordability problem has resulted in many Americans choosing to engage in healthcare services if they can afford it rather than if it’s a medical necessity.

About four in ten U.S. adults say they have delayed or gone without medical care in the last year due to cost [4]. Although lower-income and uninsured adults are most likely to report trouble affording healthcare costs, those with health insurance and higher incomes are also experiencing the effects of high medical care costs. A recent poll by KFF on the public’s experiences with health care costs found that 47% of U.S. adults say that it is very or somewhat difficult for them to afford their health care costs [5]. Additionally, at least six in ten Black adults (60%) and Hispanic adults (65%) report difficulty affording health care costs compared to about four in ten White adults (39%) [6].

Why the deferral of healthcare leads to higher costs

Healthcare deferral is detrimental not only to individuals but also to the medical system as a whole. One of the most cost-intensive parts of skipping or delaying preventive care is the delayed detection of health conditions. Early detection enables clinicians to identify conditions at an earlier stage when conditions are preventable or more treatable for better health outcomes and lower medical costs. Delays in preventive care can result in longer and more expensive healthcare for people who miss early cancer detection and other critical screenings.

Although preventive healthcare can positively impact long-term health outcomes and medical costs, the cost of care is leading many adults to skip or delay seeking services. One-third of adults say they or another family member living in their household has deferred a recommended medical test or treatment in the past year due to cost, while about 43% report that they or a family member in their household has put off or postponed needed health care due to cost [7]. The same poll found that the cost of care can also have disproportionate impacts on different groups of people, with Medicare-eligible adults ages 65 and older less likely than younger age groups to say they have not gotten a test or treatment because of cost.

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Increase healthcare access and lower costs with LetsGetChecked

Bringing healthcare into the home with LetsGetChecked’s diagnostic testing and virtual consultations can enable earlier detection and intervention to control long-term costs and save lives. Patients with regular access to affordable preventative care are more likely to have their chronic diseases discovered and managed. This lowers the likelihood of emergency room visits and more expensive treatments for diseases that have progressed past regular management. When these decrease, the overall cost of healthcare decreases for everyone

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  1. https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/chart-collection/cost-affect-access-care
  2. https://www.ama-assn.org/about/research/trends-health-care-spending
  3. https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/NationalHealthExpendData/NHE-Fact-Sheet
  4. https://www.kff.org/health-costs/issue-brief/americans-challenges-with-health-care-costs/
  5. https://www.kff.org/health-costs/issue-brief/americans-challenges-with-health-care-costs/
  6. https://www.kff.org/report-section/kff-health-care-debt-survey-main-findings/
  7. https://www.kff.org/health-costs/issue-brief/americans-challenges-with-health-care-costs/