Fear of Losing Health Insurance Keeps 1 in 6 in Their Jobs

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay reporter

FRIDAY, May 7, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Many working Americans are keeping jobs they’d rather leave – just because they don’t want to lose health insurance, a new Gallup poll reveals.

This is the situation for 16% of those polled in a national poll of more than 3,800 adults conducted from March 15 to 21.

Fear is strongest among black workers. Pollsters found that they are 21% more likely to keep junk jobs than Hispanic respondents (16%) or white respondents (14%).

Workers with an annual household income of less than $ 48,000 are the most likely (28%) to stay put in order to maintain their health benefits, and three times more likely to do so than workers in households earning $ 120,000 or more. more, according to the joint West Health-Gallup survey. .

“Health care costs have become so high that many Americans are unwilling to risk disrupting their coverage, even if it means higher and higher premiums and deductibles and keeping a job they don’t like. maybe not, ”said Tim Lash, chief strategy officer for West Health, a group of nonprofits that aim to cut health care costs.

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About 158 ​​million Americans have employer-sponsored health insurance.

The poll suggests that 135 million Americans fear they will ultimately be excluded from health care, if they haven’t already been.

Over half of respondents said they were “concerned” or “very concerned” that health services (53%) and prescription drugs (52%) would become unaffordable. More worries about rising health care costs than losing their home (25%) or job (29%), according to pollsters.

Forty-two percent said they feared they might not be able to pay for a major health problem, including 49% of Hispanic respondents and 47% of black participants.

“Americans are increasingly concerned about being excluded from the American health care system and are finding it difficult to hang on in any way they can,” Lash said in a press release from West Health.

Earlier this year, about 46 million people – 18% of the U.S. population – said they couldn’t afford health care if they needed it today.

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The poll found substantial support for federal action to control health care costs.

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About three quarters of respondents are in favor of limiting the price increases of prescription drugs (77%); cap hospital prices in areas with few or no other hospitals (76%) and ask the government to negotiate lower prices for some expensive drugs that do not have cheaper alternatives (74%). About two-thirds support government limits on prices for off-grid care.

Respondents with private insurance were as supportive of government intervention as those with public health plans, including Medicare and Medicaid.

“Data from the West Health and Gallup polls continue to show that most Americans support a greater role for government in reducing the rising costs of care,” said Dan Witters, senior researcher for Gallup. “The way elected officials are reacting to this is unfolding, but there appears to be substantial public support for a number of specific proposals that are on the table.”

The margin of error varied from question to question, ranging from 1.3 to 4 percentage points.

More information

The Kaiser Family Foundation has more on health costs.

SOURCE: West Health, press release, May 6, 2021

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