FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Molly Crisp
Missouri Foundation for Health
New Survey Finds Majority of Missourians Worry About High Health Care Costs
Respondents, across party lines, express strong support for government-led solutions
ST. LOUIS, MO (August 23, 2022) – Missourians have growing concerns about the affordability of health care and want the government to enact consumer protections, according to a series of briefs released today by Altarum’s Healthcare Value Hub. The data comes from a recent Missouri Consumer Healthcare Experience State Survey which explored residents’ views about the cost and quality of health care as well as policy changes lawmakers could make.
The survey of over 1,100 Missouri adults, conducted from April 1 to April 18, 2022, found more than half of respondents have endured a hardship in the last year because of the cost of health care (62%). These stresses ranged from delaying or going without health care, being uninsured, and struggling to pay medical bills. Even more worry about affording some aspect of health care now or in the future (82%).
Though all demographics are impacted by financial burdens, some groups bear the brunt more than others. Reported problems are more pronounced among people of color, women, people with disabilities, those with lower incomes, and certain age groups.
Survey results found:
- *People of color reported slightly higher rates of affordability burdens than white respondents.
- Women were more likely than men to have experienced at least one affordability burden in the past year.
- Respondents with households earning less than $50,000 annually and people with disabilities reported higher rates of going without care and incurring debt due to health care costs.
- Adults ages 25-34 rationed medication due to cost more often than any other age group.
Given these findings, it’s not surprising 71% of respondents believe the health care system needs to change. Addressing health care problems is a top priority Missourians want government officials to work on.
“The results of the survey reinforce what we already know. In 2020, Missourians made their voice heard when they overwhelmingly voted to expand Medicaid because residents want affordable, quality health care for themselves and neighbors,” said Sheldon Weisgrau, Missouri Foundation for Health’s Vice President of Health Policy. “This is not a partisan issue. Missourians want policymakers working together on solutions that will make a real difference in their lives and ensure people get the care they need at a price they can afford.”
Respondents cited drug companies, hospitals, and insurance companies as the main drivers for out-of-control costs and identified a number of ways the government could tackle these issues. Several of the strategies received broad bipartisan support including making it easier to switch insurers if a health plan drops your doctor (94%); authorizing the attorney general to take legal action to prevent price gouging or unfair prescription drug price hikes (92%); requiring insurers to provide up-front cost estimates (92%); and expanding health insurance options so that everyone can afford quality coverage (90%).
Missouri Foundation for Health, in partnership with Altarum’s Healthcare Value Hub, is hosting a convening on August 25 to discuss these findings and more. The event will also feature a keynote from Elisabeth Rosenthal, Editor-in-Chief of Kaiser Health News, and a panel of policy experts who will discuss how they’ve used consumer experience surveys to inform policy and advocacy in their states.
* Due to small sample sizes under 100 responses, results could not be evaluated separately for respondents who were Black or African American (87 respondents), Hispanic/Latinx (73 respondents), American Indian or Native Alaskan (38 respondents), Asian (34 respondents), or Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (3 respondents). Respondents who identified as a race other than white were grouped into the “People of Color” category.
About Altarum’s Healthcare Value Hub
With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Arnold Ventures, the Healthcare Value Hub provides free, timely information about the policies and practices that address high health care costs and poor quality, bringing better value to consumers. The Hub is part of Altarum, a nonprofit organization with the mission of creating a better, more sustainable future for all Americans by applying research-based and field-tested solutions that transform our systems of health and health care.
About Missouri Foundation for Health
Missouri Foundation for Health is building a more equitable future through collaboration, convening, knowledge sharing, and strategic investment. Working in partnership with communities and nonprofits, MFH is transforming systems to eliminate inequities within all aspects of health and addressing the social and economic factors that shape health outcomes.