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Study Shows Ohioans Delaying Or Avoiding Health Care Because Of Costs


A group that supports single-payer health care is highlighting a study that shows Ohioans are very worried about paying medical costs and are taking dangerous steps because of it.

The Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio released the results of a study by the health research firm Altarum, which talked to around a 1,000 Ohioans in March.

Lynn Quincy from Altarum said in the last year, half of those surveyed experienced health care affordability burdens.

The respondents said they either went uninsured, struggled to pay for medical care, or avoided or delayed it. Four out of five people in the survey said they're worried about being able to afford health care in the future. Quincy said the respondents report across party lines that they want government to solve these problems.

Prescription drugs are a big concern. Seventy percent of respondents said they take one or more prescription medications, including 89% of seniors that took the survey. And more than half of those said they are worried about affording their drugs.

Quincy said a big number didn’t fill prescriptions, cut their drugs in half, or adjusted or skipped dosages.

“About one quarter of adults in Ohio – that’s everyone, whether they consumed medical care last year or not – did one of those things," Quincy said. "That’s a shockingly high number and a dangerous number.”

There are also concerns about unexpected or "surprise" medical bills. About a third of privately-insured Ohioans said they'd gotten a bill they didn't anticipate, and only a third were solved satisfactorily.

Quincy said there were several proposed solutions that were supported by over 90% of respondents, including making it easy to switch insurance companies, price transparency, requiring insurers to provide cost estimates upfront and authorizing the Attorney General to take legal action on price gouging or drug price hikes.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.