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Survey Reveals Most Kentuckians Struggle to Afford Health Care

More than half of Kentucky adults in a new survey say they're worried about the costs of prescription drugs. (Pixabay)
More than half of Kentucky adults in a new survey say they're worried about the costs of prescription drugs. (Pixabay)
May 16, 2018

FRANKFORT, Ky. - The ability to pay for medical care is a challenge for a majority of Kentucky adults, according to a new survey.

Data from Altarum's Healthcare Value Hub showed that nearly three in four adults in the state have been affected by a health-care affordability problem. This includes trouble paying a medical bill, inability to afford health insurance or delaying or skipping medical care.

Ben Chandler, chief executive of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, said not getting needed care is dangerous to residents - and costly for the Commonwealth.

"When Kentuckians delay care, for whatever reason they do it," he said, "they're more likely to end up in an emergency room or some other place for some treatment that costs more than it would otherwise cost if they caught it at an earlier stage."

The survey also revealed that future medical costs are a concern among adults, with 71 percent worried about affording care when they are elderly, 69 percent worried about paying for a serious illness or accident, and 59 percent concerned about the costs of prescription medications.

Chandler said lawmakers haven't had a serious discussion about health-care affordability since Obamacare, which he said was just a partial solution. He added that other comparable countries spend much less money on health care and have better outcomes.

"When you're 37th in outcomes and you're spending twice as much as anybody else, that ought to tell you that you've got a significant problem," he said. "And we really haven't done enough on any level to deal with that problem."

The survey also found that just 19 percent of adults believe the health-care system in the United States is "great," and 74 percent support changes to address high health-care costs.

Results of the survey are online at healthcarevaluehub.org.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - KY