- 61% say having to pay higher premiums is a "major concern"
- Nearly half worry about not having enough money for healthcare
- Healthcare concerns are greatest among lower-income adults
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Of four potential financial setbacks related to health insurance, having to pay higher premiums or copays ranks as the biggest concern among U.S. adults, with 61% saying it is a "major concern." Close to half (46%) worry this much about not having enough money to pay for healthcare, while 42% say being denied health insurance for a pre-existing condition or otherwise having to go without health insurance are major concerns.
|Major concern||Not a major concern|
|Your health insurance plan will require you to pay higher premiums or a greater portion of medical expenses||61||37|
|You will not have enough money to pay for medical or healthcare||46||53|
|You or someone in your immediate family will be denied health insurance coverage for a pre-existing medical condition||42||57|
|You or someone in your immediate family will have to go without health insurance at some point||42||57|
|Gallup, Nov. 1-11, 2018|
These data are from Gallup's annual Health and Healthcare poll, conducted Nov. 1-11, coinciding with the midterm elections in which Democrats won control of the House of Representatives for the next Congress. A Gallup poll in October found healthcare tying with immigration and the economy as the most important issue for midterm voting, according to registered voters. Healthcare reform was a major focus for Democratic candidates this year.
Political leaders' focus on healthcare reform is underlined by the trend for these expenses. Average annual premiums in the U.S. have increased every year since 1999 for both single and family coverage, according to figures from Project HOPE.
Lower-Income Adults Have Greatest Healthcare Concerns
The possibility of having to pay higher premiums is particularly unnerving for Americans living in households earning less than $30,000 annually. Among this group, 70% say paying higher premiums is a major concern. Lower-income adults report the greatest level of worry on all four concerns Gallup measured.
While Medicaid and Medicare recipients share the same level of concern as privately insured adults about potentially having to pay higher premiums, Medicaid and Medicare recipients report greater levels of concern on the other three scenarios -- including about half saying the possibility of not having enough money for health or medical costs is a major concern.
|Paying higher premiums||Not having enough money for healthcare||Being denied coverage for pre-existing condition||Having to go without health insurance|
|% Major concern||% Major concern||% Major concern||% Major concern|
|Gallup, Nov. 1-11, 2018|
Across political parties, majorities of Republicans, Democrats and independents say that paying higher premiums is a major concern -- though Democrats (68%) are a good deal more concerned about higher premiums than are Republicans (52%). As for the other three concerns asked about, roughly half of Democrats and independents say that the possibilities of not having enough money for care, being denied for pre-existing conditions and going without insurance at some point are major concerns -- while concerns about these three scenarios are much lower for Republicans.
The 50-to-64 age bracket expresses slightly greater concern about paying higher premiums than other age groups do. Meanwhile, women are more concerned than men about each scenario -- though women often report greater levels of worry than men do, on issues as wide ranging as children's safety to financial security.
Gallup also finds that adults who report having a pre-existing condition are nearly twice as likely to say they are concerned about being denied coverage for having such a condition (61%) as those who do not have a pre-existing condition (35%).
Healthcare reform was a key issue for Democratic candidates this year, but the divided incoming Congress may struggle to find common ground with opposing parties controlling each chamber.
Many House members-elect have homed in on the issue of being denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition, which worries more than four in 10 Americans.
But concerns are greatest about the possibility of having to pay higher premiums -- a scenario that raises major concerns across party lines. Though Americans are generally satisfied with the costs they pay for healthcare, the potential of having to pay more in premiums is worrying to most -- especially among lower-income adults.
Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.