health as it happens

Survey: Michigan Health Care Costs Too High -

Medical Insurance claim form with stethoscope and surgical face mask. There are also other pieces of paperwork on the desk including a patient form A new survey done on behalf of Consumers Quality Care show cost as the number one concern related to the health care system among Michigan voters. // Stock Photo

A new survey conducted by Michigan Researchers Associates Inc. (EPIC-MRA) in Lansing and Anzalone Liszt Grove Research in New York on behalf of Consumers Quality Care (CQC) revealed voters see affordability and access to quality care as major issues in the state’s health care system.

“This research confirms what many Michiganders have been feeling: the out-of-pocket costs for quality health care are too high,” says Donna Christensen, a founding board member of CQC.

“With about 18 percent of Americans with medical debt in collections, it is no wonder why consumers are stressed about the cost of going to the hospital or seeing a doctor. Out-of-pocket costs shouldn’t be so high and unpredictable that they discourage people from seeking care, and insurance should act like insurance and be there for patients when they need it.”

Cost is the primary issue Michiganders identified, with 74 percent of those surveyed are concerned about being able to afford high deductibles, 58 percent about their monthly premium, and 90 percent stating concern for plans that offer little coverage.

More than three quarters of those surveyed agree the amount they pay for health care seems to rise every year. 27 percent have actively unpaid or overdue medical bills, while that number rises to 55 percent among those classified as struggling financially. Even amongst those that were paying a medical bill while insure, 56 percent say they struggled to make payments.

“Michigan voters think the existing health care system is good, but too expensive, with costs rising every year,” says Bernie Porn, president of EPIC-MRA. “Our poll showed voters want health care improved and they favor private health insurance over a government-run system.”

Targeted, careful fixes to the health care system were preferred by those surveyed, 68 percent agreeing that changes should be cautious as the country emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. A fundamental transformation of the system was supported by 25 percent, and 68 percent want changes that build on the current system.

Nearly all Michiganders, 90 percent, want policy changes to ensure that insurance deductibles are low enough that they don’t get in the way of seeking quality care, while 85 percent agree that changes need to be made to prevent insurance companies from selling plans with such little coverage that quality care is unaffordable.

Coming out of the pandemic, 65 percent of voters are concerned that COVID-19 survivors who develop serious health problems may have to pay a greater share of their health care costs or may not be covered at all because they contracted COVID. That number climbs to 69% in the nearly 1-in-4 Michigan households where someone contracted COVID-19.

The poll was conducted July 15 to 19 and sampled 600 registered voters in the State of Michigan. Overall results were weighted to reflect the composition of registered voters in the state.

High health costs have long been a problem in Michigan and the country. To read DBusiness’ analysis of the health care industry and the monopoly-like power of Group Purchasing Organizations, or GPOs, visit here.