Rising health care costs, inflation lead Americans to skip or delay treatment

By Gianna Melillo

August 5, 2022

Steep inflation rates have prompted many Americans to make cuts to their everyday spending in order to pay for health care expenses, according to a new poll conducted by West Health and Gallup. 

Nearly 40 percent of those surveyed said they had cut back on driving, utilities, and food, and skipped treatments to pay medical bills in the last six months. This cohort also reported borrowing money to meet health care costs. 

In addition, 26 percent of respondents said they avoided medical care and paying for prescription drugs altogether due to costs.

“People have been making tradeoffs to pay for health care for years,” said Timothy A. Lash, president of West Health in a statement. “Inflation has only made things worse as people are also now struggling with the high price of gas, food, and electricity.” West Health is a non-profit organization with the mission of lowering health care costs for seniors. 

A total of 3,001 adults completed the survey between June 2 and 16, 2022, the month the U.S. inflation rate reached a 40-year high of 9.1 percent. At this time, health care inflation accounted for half of this total at 4.5 percent.