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KFF: Americans still cutting corners to avoid rising healthcare costs

BY Michael Johnsen

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Americans still are forgoing or delaying health care on account of the economy, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, which recently released its May Health Tracking Poll.

One in four Americans reported they have had problems paying medical bills in the past year, and as many as 60% said they have cut corners to avoid healthcare costs.

"The public is most likely to report relying on home remedies or over-the-counter drugs instead of going to see a doctor (38%) and skipping dental care or checkups (35%)," the report read. "Twenty‐nine percent report that because of the cost, they have postponed needed health care; 25% say they have skipped a recommended medical test or treatment; and a similar share (24%) did not fill a prescription for a medicine. Smaller shares report they cut
pills in half or skipped doses of medicine (16%) or had problems getting mental health care (8%) in the past year due to the cost."

And the general consensus is all could get worse before it gets better as healthcare costs continue to rise. Among Americans ages 18 to 64 years with private health insurance, about half (52%) reported that their health insurance premiums have been going up lately, and 28% said this has been a financial burden for them. In terms of deductibles and copayments, about 42% reported that these costs have been rising, and about half of that group said it’s a financial burden, the foundation noted.

When those ages 18 to 64 years with private health insurance are asked which form of healthcare costs personally cause the greatest financial burden, roughly equal shares said health insurance premiums (19%), the plan deductible (18%) and copayments for doctor visits and prescription drugs (16%), according to the report.

To download the report, click here.

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D.Lee says:
Jun-26-2013 02:06 am

Sad to hear that people are cutting corners because of rising health care costs that they are unable to pay. Many people go for home remedies or over the counter drugs instead of going to a doctor. The medical fees, expensive medicines etc are making them to do so. The financial burden of health care is increasing and causing people a lot of problems. https://urgentcareguru.com/clinic/2162

N.CHARLIE says:
Jan-22-2013 07:41 am

I wonder when all these statistics will reach our governments ears, we obviously need some help coping with the rising healthcare costs. These days I'm seriously thinking to pursue a healthcare career, I really want to understand which is the cause for the current healthcare and how could I change this situation.

Kathryn Menefee says:
Jun-27-2012 11:28 am

The reason that healthcare costs continue going up is the expensive and inefficient U.S. healthcare delivery system. The consequences of the fee-for-service model put an unnecessary financial burden on patients and employers and raise the overall cost of healthcare. Read a recent blog by Bob Fabbio about healthcare spending in the US, http://blog.whiteglove.com/what-does-2-trillion-buy-how-about-our-nation%e2%80%99s-healthcare/

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Walgreens, Greater Than AIDS to provide free HIV testing

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS, a coalition of public and private sector partners united in response to the domestic epidemic, are teaming with health departments and local AIDS organizations to provide free HIV testing at 47 Walgreens stores in 20 cities across the nation in June in support of National HIV Testing Day on June 27, the companies announced last week.

“These testing events provide valuable and vital opportunities to help the communities we serve,” stated Glen Pietrandoni, Walgreens senior manager of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. “Walgreens has supported people living with HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic through its ability to offer accessible pharmacy, health and wellness guidance to patients, wherever they live. Our pharmacists are developing relationships, listening to concerns and providing education and support.”

“This is a powerful example of what can be achieved when the public and private sector come together in response to HIV/AIDS,” added Tina Hoff, SVP and director of health communication and media partnerships for the Kaiser Family Foundation, a founding partner of Greater Than AIDS.

An additional 138 Walgreens stores in the participating communities will help publicize the free testing through in-store messaging, including posters, post cards and in-store audio. And Walgreens will help promote National HIV Testing Day with special messages on June 27 on its Times Square digital display.

More than 50 state and local health departments and AIDS service organizations are coordinating the testing and providing results on-site at participating Walgreens locations, as well as supporting outreach. Free HIV tests will be available June 27 to 29 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at select Walgreens locations in Atlanta; Baltimore; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Detroit; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Houston; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Miami; New Orleans; New York; Oakland, Calif.; Philadelphia; San Francisco; St. Louis; Washington; and West Palm Beach, Fla.

This marks the second year Walgreens has teamed with Greater Than AIDS and local organizations to bring free HIV testing to communities with more than twice the number of stores and markets participating in 2012 than last year. 

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CDC: Before 2010, only half of adults followed disease-prevention recommendations

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — Only about half of U.S. adults received selected preventive services — such as screenings, consultations and prescriptions — from a healthcare professional before 2010, according to a study published last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study, "Use of Selected Clinical Preventive Services Among Adults – United States, 2007-2010," provides baseline data on the use of selected adult preventive services, including aspirin or other blood-thinning therapy, controlling blood pressure, screening for and controlling high cholesterol, and ending tobacco use.

Among the findings:

  • Of patients with heart disease primarily affecting the blood vessels, only 47% were prescribed the recommended daily use of aspirin during visits to their doctors;

  • The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines for the prevention of high blood pressure state that adults 18 years old and older with high blood pressure should receive a clinical treatment plan that might include medications and monthly follow-up visits until healthy blood pressure is achieved, yet less than half (44%) of people with high blood pressure had it under control;

  • Similarly, despite strong evidence that screening and treating for high cholesterol reduces sickness and death due to heart disease, about 33.4% of men and 25.6% of women were not screened during the preceding five years. Of those adults identified with high levels of LDL cholesterol, only about 32% of men and 32% of women had it under control; and

  • According to data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and the National Health Interview Summary, fewer than 1-in-13 tobacco users were prescribed medications to help them end their tobacco use when they saw their doctor.

"Clinical preventive services prevent heart attack, stroke, cancer and other diseases and save lives," stated CDC director Thomas Frieden. "This report provides a snapshot of preventive services for U.S. adults before 2010. As we look to the future, we can track how our nation’s health is progressing through better prevention in health care."

The data could change in the future because of certain provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the CDC noted. These include a requirement for new private health insurance plans to cover recommended preventive services with no cost-sharing. The healthcare law also requires coverage for a new annual wellness visit under Medicare and eliminates cost sharing for recommended preventive services provided to Medicare beneficiaries. The law also gives state Medicaid programs financial incentives to cover preventive services for adults and supports initiatives to improve public understanding of the benefits of preventive services.

In 2011, the Affordable Care Act provided approximately 54 million Americans with at least one new free preventive service through their private health insurance plans. An estimated 32.5 million people with Medicare received at least one free preventive benefit in 2011, including the new Annual Wellness Visit.

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