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Health Insurance Worries Beat Stock Woes

Concern over Health Care Costs Rank Highest in Poll
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May 1, 2003 -- Most Americans are more concerned about being able to afford health insurance and having access to the best available health care than losing money in the stock market or losing their jobs.

A new survey shows 36% of Americans say they're very worried that the amount they pay for health care or health insurance will increase. Researchers say the only other issue that came close to matching that level of concern was being able to keep up with rising prices (35%).

The poll, released by this week by the Kaiser Family Foundation, is based on a nationwide survey of 1,211 adults conducted April 3-6, 2003.

Researchers found more than twice as many people were concerned about health care costs than not being able to pay the rent or mortgage (17%), losing money in the stock market (16%), falling victim to a terrorist attack (14%), or losing their job (13%).

In fact, six of the top seven things people said they were "very worried" might happen to them over the next 6 months involved health insurance or health care cost concerns:

  • 34% said they were very worried that their health plan will be more concerned about saving money for the plan than about what is best for them;
  • 27% were very worried that the quality of health care they receive will get worse;
  • 26% were very worried about affording prescription drugs;
  • 24% were very worried that they might not be able to get health care services they think they need; and
  • 17% were very worried about losing their health care coverage.

Researchers also found that Americans rank expanding health insurance coverage for the more than 40 million Americans without health insurance and providing drug coverage for senior citizens higher than other national health care priorities, such as malpractice reform and the future of the Medicare program.

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