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Most Nevadans struggled to afford health care in past year, survey says


by Camalot Todd, Nevada Current
September 23, 2022

Two-thirds of Nevadans said they experienced at least one health care affordability burden in the past year, according to responses to a recent survey by Altarum, a non-profit research and consulting organization that focuses on health care.

“This survey further supports that health care has become unacceptably too expensive for some Nevadans,” said Nevada Patient Protection Commission (PPC) Executive Director Malinda Southard. 

Nevada was one of six states (the others are Connecticut, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington) that are participating in the Peterson Milbank Program for Sustainable Health Care Costs, which aims to improve health outcomes. 

Through this, the state was able to participate in the survey conducted by Altarum to help contextualize the cost of care for residents. 

The survey interviewed more than 1,100 Nevadan adults this summer and highlights worries residents have about affording health care including the cost of prescription drugs, hospital visits and delaying medical and dental care because of cost. 

Over half of the respondents reported being somewhat or very worried about affording prescription drugs and one third of respondents did not fill a prescription, cut pills in half or skipped a dose of medicine in the last year due to cost. 

Concern over prescription drug costs varied only slightly among incomes up to $100,000 –  65% of those making less than $50,000 were concerned about prescription drug costs, but so were 60% of those with incomes between $75,000 and $100,000. 

Nevada launched ArrayRx, a free discount prescription drug card, Thursday to help people save on the cost of prescription drugs. 

The 65% of respondents who reported health care affordability burdens in the prior 12 months included  people foregoing health insurance because it was too expensive, delaying visits for medical needs including dental care, mental health care or addiction treatment, and struggling to pay medical bills. 

Nearly half (48%) of those who responded to the survey were not confident they could find the cost of a medical procedure ahead of time. 

Nine out of 10 respondents said they strongly support hospitals and doctors providing up-front costs to consumers, and setting a standard payment for hospitals on specific procedures. Nearly as many – 85% –  support setting up an independent entity to rate doctor and hospital quality like bedside manners and patient outcomes. 

Nevada Current is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nevada Current maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Hugh Jackson for questions: [email protected]. Follow Nevada Current on Facebook and Twitter.

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