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View On Health Insurance From The Emergency Room Is Pretty Grim

A national poll from the American College of Emergency Physicians links fears of high costs with worsening health.
American College of Emergency Physicians
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

According to a new national poll from the American College of Emergency Physicians, the view on health insurance from the emergency department is pretty grim.

The report released on Tuesday links fear of high costs with worsening health.

Among the findings:

  • One in four adults have lost access to a doctor over the past year.
  • Over two in 10 Americans have not sought care for a worsening condition due to fear of unexpected costs not covered by their health insurance.
  • Millennials are more likely to have been turned away from a doctor or urgent care facility because they could not provide the services needed—29 percent reported having been sent directly to an emergency department because they needed more complex care.

“People are delaying the care and they’re getting sicker when they come,” says Dr. Andrew Bern, a South Florida spokesperson for ACEP.

Bern points to insurance plans with narrow provider networks and high deductibles as sources of dissatisfaction.

“People are buying these policies that are not worth the paper they’re written on,” says Bern. “They sign these policies and they don’t read it or don’t understand it—or know what all the fine lines mean. And when they actually get into that situation where they have to use the policy, they find out that either their deductibility orcopaysare so high it’s almost as if they don’t have a policy at all.”

Bern says with the November election around the corner, it’s time for patients to think about these things as voting issues.

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Sammy Mack
Public radio. Public health. Public policy.