Americans Remain Fearful of This Type of Health Care Amid Pandemic

Doctor with mask
Photo by i_am_zews / Shutterstock.com

Americans are more comfortable about seeing doctors today than they were a few months ago. But some nervousness remains.

A new poll by Morning Consult finds that 65% of respondents would be likely to visit a doctor for treatment not related to the coronavirus. That is up substantially from the 39% who were willing to seek such health care services in late April.

A large percentage — 47% — also say they are willing to see their dentist. That’s a jump of 25 percentage points since April.

However, large numbers of Americans remain fearful of visiting a hospital. Nearly half — 47% — say they are unlikely to visit a hospital for standard treatment or appointments.

The survey conducted in mid-July included roughly 2,200 U.S. adults.

The Morning Consult findings paint a picture of a public that is more trustful of some types of health care services than others. For example, out of the nine provider settings included in the survey, only primary physicians were able to cross over the 50% line in terms of patients being willing to schedule a visit with a doctor.

Even the thought of a visit to the dentist’s office provokes anxiety. While 47% are willing to make such an appointment, 44% are not.

The recent increase in coronavirus infections also plays a role in how comfortable people are seeking medical care. According to Morning Consult, respondents in the South and West are slightly less likely to seek care unrelated to the coronavirus.

Those regions of the country recently have seen record-setting increases in the number of new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

How to make health care more affordable

The threat of COVID-19 is not the only thing that strikes fear in the hearts of patients. The cost of medical care also is enough to make some people feel ill.

As we reported in “5 Ways Anyone Can Save on Out-of-Pocket Health Care Costs,” average family health care premiums increased by 54% between 2009 and 2019. During that time, wages rose just 26%.

One way to recoup some of your health care costs is to enroll in a health savings account, or HSA. This type of account allows you to:

  • Get a tax deduction for the money you put into the account.
  • Keep the money growing tax-free.
  • Withdraw the money tax-free, as long as you use it for qualified health care expenses.

Money Talks News contributor Miranda Marquit has opened an HSA with Money Talks News partner Lively. To learn more about her experience — and HSAs in general — check out “3 Ways a Health Savings Account Can Improve Your Finances.”

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