Over half of Americans have delayed medical or dental treatment due to cost
New research suggests that over half of American adults have put off having medical or dental treatment due to cost.
A survey conducted by OnePoll found that more than 50% of participants have delayed treatment because they feared they would be unable to pay the bill. Although missing out on seeing a doctor or a dentist may save money in the short-term, the risk of complex issues increases, and patients could therefore end up paying more. According to the study, those who end up needing treatment at the ER face an average bill of over $12,000.
The US system is very different to the UK, and in 2017 alone, the average American adult spent almost $5,000 on healthcare. As fees are high, many are putting off routine appointments, but doctors and dentists are warning that this approach is likely to be even costlier in the long-run. Preventative procedures and routine checks are usually a lot cheaper than courses of treatment for complex conditions and procedures.
According to the OnePoll survey, which involved 2,000 Americans and was commissioned by DentalPlans.com, 42% of people don’t have money set aside for health problems. This is an issue, as many people end up needing emergency treatment, which they simply can’t afford to pay for. The most common type of emergency procedure carried out was treatment for a chipped tooth followed by lost teeth. Other examples included broken bones and cuts that required stitching.
The survey suggests that the average bill for ER care before insurance is over $12,000, and even those who do have insurance could end up with a bill for around $6,000. With the cost of treatment so high, it’s unsurprising that over a third of people put off paying off the debt and 22% said they had to borrow money to cover medical and dental costs.