Study: Being healthy 'costs too much'

May 2, 2011 at 8:44 PM
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MADISON, Wis., May 2 (UPI) -- Families are not taking their children to the doctor, regardless of family income or whether they have healthcare insurance, U.S. researchers say.

"Every U.S. family has a finite amount of resources available to them, and every day they have to make decisions about how to allocate those resources. This is especially true in today's economy ," Lauren E. Wisk, a doctoral student at the School of Medicine and Public Health at University of Wisconsin in Madison, says in a statement. "Families aren't choosing to spend their money on going to the doctor when someone is sick because of how much it cost them to see the doctor last time. They're sacrificing their health because it costs too much to be healthy."

The researchers examined data from the 2001-2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys on 6,273 families with at least one child. Excessive financial burden was defined as insurance premiums and out-of-pocket health care expenses exceeding 10 percent of family income, Wisk says.

Even if families are insured, they still pay out-of-pocket for premiums, deductibles, co-pays, etc., and when these costs exceed a certain threshold relative to a family's available income, they delay or forgo healthcare and medications, Wisk adds.

The findings were presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in Denver.

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