How Does Cost Affect Access to Care?

This slideshow examines how cost and insurance affects people’s access to care, including decisions to forgo or delay needed care and access to a usual source of care. Based on data from the 2020 National Health Interview Survey, the analysis finds that overall 26% of adults reported delaying or not getting care due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted social distancing and led to gaps in access to health services to avoid spread at doctors’ offices and hospitals. In addition, 9% of adults reported that they delayed or did not get care because of cost reasons.

The analysis also notes that those without health insurance or in poor health are more likely to experience cost-related barriers to care and worry more about the cost of routine care. The slideshow also explores variations based on income and having a usual place of care.

The slideshow is available through the Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker, an online information hub dedicated to monitoring and assessing the performance of the U.S. health system.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.