Amidst ACA Uncertainty Affordability and Access to Care are Most Important to Americans: The TCHS  4th Annual Healthcare Survey

The fourth annual TCHS healthcare survey, released in November 2016, shows that Americans continue to feel the most important aspect of the U.S. healthcare system is affordability, followed by ample meeting time with physicians during office visits. On average, two in five (41 percent) consumers say being able afford the medical care is at the top of their healthcare priority list, and yet 56 percent of Americans feel healthcare costs are a very or somewhat significant source of stress – just behind housing costs, money and the economy.

One in three Americans think healthcare-related costs, including premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses, have increased. More than half (58 percent) spend approximately $0 to $99 per month on routine health expenses and the majority (81 percent) say they can afford this level of spending. Since this survey started in 2013, approximately one-third more of Americans say they can afford healthcare costs today compared to four years ago. However, a large gap still remains in comparison with the uninsured, 63 percent of whom say they cannot afford routine healthcare expenses.

After a three-year decline from a first-year peak of 21 percent, the percentage of those surveyed who are uninsured has held steady at 12 percent over the past year. Among the uninsured, the leading reasons for not having coverage are the perception that even with the tax penalty involved, it’s cheaper than buying a policy (26 percent) and not being aware of the mandate for coverage (22 percent).

The survey also, 62 percent of adults in the U.S. have been diagnosed with a chronic illness. The top conditions include high blood pressure, weight issues and high cholesterol. White Americans are most likely to report being diagnosed with a chronic health condition and Asian Americans least likely.

Other key findings from the annual TCHS survey include:

  • Americans who are insured through an Exchange are more likely than those insured by other means (employer, individual) to say the quality of health insurance plans they have access to have decreased.

  • Overall, one in five Americans says their health insurance coverage is worse than it was one to two years ago.

  • Roughly half of Americans (51 percent) have a neutral opinion of the ACA and its impact on the U.S. healthcare system.

  • On average, only 27 percent of Americans are saving for health expenses.

  • Three in five Americans think their employer is very or somewhat concerned about the affordability of health insurance for their employees.​

You can read the full report here.