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New survey shows economic crisis forcing Americans to make difficult health care choices

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New survey shows economic crisis forcing Americans to make difficult health care choices
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With open enrollment season in full force across the country, many Americans are evaluating health care benefits for themselves and their families. But, according to a new survey conducted by BearingPoint, Inc. and Zogby International, a startling percentage of citizens are considering denying themselves and their children health care to save money during this unstable economic environment.

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The survey, "Impact of the Economic Crisis on Health Care Consumers," found that of the roughly 3,500 American adults polled, nearly one in 10 were more likely as a result of the reported economic crisis to either drop their health insurance plan or switch to a plan with lower premiums and less attractive benefits. Considering the number of insured adults in the country according to the most current report from the U.S. Census Bureau, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2007, August 2008, this would translate to almost 21 million American adults that are considering making sweeping changes in their health care behavior to cut expenses.

"The purpose of this survey was to understand how the financial crisis is impacting health care consumers and changing their behaviors," said John Distefano, vice president of health care payer services for BearingPoint. "While Americans are looking at many ways to curb their expenses, this survey reveals for the first time that they are considering cutting back health care services and benefits as a result of the economic conditions. And, if a portion of those considering these extreme steps actually take action, the issues we face with uninsured and underinsured Americans will only be exacerbated - there could be a real negative impact on the overall health of Americans in the year to come."

Additional key findings of the BearingPoint/Zogby study suggested that, as a result of the reported financial crisis:

Fifteen percent of survey respondents were more likely to take less medication, delay prescription refills, or not fill prescriptions as a result of the state of the economy.

Respondents making less than $25,000 per year reported being more likely to drop their health insurance plan to save money at rates 10 times higher than those making more than $100,000.

Women reported being more likely to put off necessary care for themselves or their children at twice the rate men did.

Young adults, specifically between ages 18-24, were more likely than other age groups to report being inclined to drop or switch to a less expensive health care plan.

Hispanics consistently reported being more likely than Caucasians, African-Americans or Asians to want to take drastic measures on health care due to cost.

Nearly 12 percent of respondents making less than $25,000 per year reported being more likely to fail to provide or delay providing vaccinations for their children. Based on the number of children living in poverty reported by Columbia University's National Center for Children in Poverty, this could affect more than 1.5 million poor children in the U.S. including 600,000 children under the age of six.

For more information on the survey, including more detailed statistics and results, visit www.BearingPoint.com/healthcare.

Survey Methodology

Zogby International conducted this online survey of 3,496 adults. The survey utilized a sampling of Zogby International's online panel, which is representative of the U.S. adult population. Slight weights were added according to region, age, race, and gender, to more accurately reflect the population. The margin of error is +/- 1.7 percentage points; margins of error are higher in sub-groups.

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