Diagnosing Healthcare

With public opinion roiled for the past year by the healthcare-reform debate, how do consumers feel about their own coverage and care? Polling by Franklin & Marshall College’s Center for Opinion Research reveals plenty of problems, but scarcely a consensus that the current setup is a horror show.

Though much speechifying has cast health insurers as villains, a majority of respondents who have coverage are satisfied with it. Forty-one percent rated their own coverage as “very good,” and another 34 percent said it’s “good.” Eighteen percent rated it as “fair,” 4 percent as “poor” and 2 percent as “very poor,” with the other 1 percent not sure.

More broadly, nearly eight in 10 of all respondents agreed that “the current healthcare system meets the needs of you and your family” either “very well” (37 percent) or “pretty well” (41 percent).

Asked if their insurer “ever denied a request from your doctor for you to undergo a specific test, procedure or treatment,” 12 percent of those with coverage said this has happened. Seven percent said their insurer has “denied your request to visit a specialist.”

While such problems are the exception, lots of people don’t get all the care they need. In the past 12 months, 23 percent skipped “a recommended test or medical treatment” due to cost, and 21 percent chose not to fill a prescription for that reason. And money isn’t the only issue: 15 percent “had difficulty getting an appointment with a doctor when you needed a checkup or routine medical care.”