Recession Forcing Many To Cut Back on Doctor Visits, Drug Regimens
Twenty percent of U.S. residents did not seek medical care for a recent illness or injury, according to a survey of more than 4,000 adults conducted by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions between Dec. 28, 2009, and Jan. 5, HealthLeaders Media reports.
Of the respondents who did not seek care, 40% cited cost as the primary factor for their decision.
The survey also found:
- A decline in the number of individuals who said they had visited a physician or health professional in the past year, from 85% in 2009 to 79% in 2010;
- An increase -- from 12% in 2009 to 17% in 2010 -- in the percentage of individuals who sought alternative or natural remedies before consulting a physician;
- An increase in the number of people who use alternative remedies to supplement their current regimen, from 16% in 2009 to 20% this year; and
- That only 7% of respondents sought care services outside their community, though they remain receptive to medical tourism.
Paul Keckley, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, said as more costs are shifted to patients and more U.S. residents lose their jobs and health insurance, the trend of fewer physician visits likely will continue (Commins, HealthLeaders Media, 8/9).
Cancer Patients Stopping Medication Because of Cost
In related news, some California residents with cancer -- whose conditions had previously been under control -- recently experienced massive cancer regrowth after the economic recession forced the patients to alter their medication habits, according to a letter to the editor published in the New England Journal of Medicine last week, HealthDay/USA Today reports.
The California patients' experiences mirror those of other cases around the nation, in which patients have stopped taking medications completely or rationed their drugs to make their supplies last longer (Gardner, HealthDay/USA Today, 8/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.