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Need to visit the doc? Maybe next year...

  • Survey says 41% of young people skipped out on medical care for a year
  • For those who do go to the doctor, medical debt is piling up
Need to visit the doc? Maybe next year...

Just how expensive would health care have to get for you to stop going to the doctor? When you were a kid and didn’t even know what a bill looked like, you probably thought that day would never come. Unfortunately, for a lot of young Americans, we’ve reached that point.

Around 41% of young people between the ages of 19 and 29 went the past 12 months without medical care because of the cost, according to a new Commonwealth Fund survey. And of those young people who don’t have health insurance, 60% avoided medical care altogether.

As costs across the industry continue to rise, young people are skipping out on almost everything that has to do with their health. They are not filling prescriptions, not getting recommended tests, avoiding even seeing the doctor, and they aren’t getting specialist care a lot of them need.

Authors of the survey say the fact that young people are avoiding medical care is a true reflection of how high costs really are, and on top of that, health plans may not be covering people very well.

"You twist your knee playing soccer and you go to get an MRI. But if the doctor says you have to pay 50% of the cost, you're going to be less likely to go through with it," said Dr. Mark Fendrick, director of the University of Michigan Center for Value-Based Insurance Design.

As these young Americans continue to battle quite grim unemployment conditions, the bills won’t stop coming in and they simply have to make sacrifices in order to survive. Not every 20-something has a nice home and generous parents to go running back to, and in a lot of cases today, these are the young adults being forced to give up medical care. It’s either the doctor or a few days of having dinner on the table.

And if they do decide to get care, that’s when the issue of medical debt comes into play. They survey found that 36% of 19-to-29-year-olds reported they’re having problems paying medical bills or they’re planning to pay them off over time.

Here’s more on the report and the future of health care and related costs.

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