Survey finds that consumers are turning to emergency rooms in order to avoid high health care costs
Health insurance premiums are on the rise in the United States and many consumers are beginning to avoid medical care as a result. A new survey from the American College of Emergency Physicians has found that patients are avoiding medical services because of high health care costs. As a result, more of these people are ending up in the emergency room because they are ignoring serious conditions that may be putting their lives in danger.
70% of ER doctors are treating consumers that want to avoid primary care
The survey found that 70% of emergency room doctors are treating people that have avoided seeking out medical care. They are doing this because the out-of-pocket costs they face are too high. Many of these consumers have purchased high deductible health insurance plans, which have lower premiums, but still represent a financial burden when seeking out medical care. The survey noted that some doctors believe that consumers are more concerned about their finances than they are about their health.
Insurance deductibles are on the rise in the US
Through the Affordable Care Act, many millions of consumers were able to acquire health insurance coverage. A significant portion of these consumers purchased so called “bronze” plans, which is the lowest tier of coverage that people can find through insurance exchanges. The average deductible for these plans has grown by 11% this year, reaching $5,731. In order to avoid deductibles, many consumers are turning to emergency rooms.
Changes to health care networks are leaving consumers with limited options
High deductibles are not the only reason consumers are avoiding conventional medical care. Numerous insurers offering coverage through insurance exchanges are limiting the options that consumers have. Some have made significant changes to their health care networks, which has resulted in some consumers losing access to their primary care physicians. In order to continue seeing these doctors, consumers will have to cover the cost themselves, as insurers will no longer provide coverage for the services being provided.