The cost of healthcare, not the COVID-19 pandemic, is now the top healthcare concern facing residents of the Commonwealth. Massachusetts residents reported that only inflation and the cost of housing were greater challenges than the cost of healthcare, according to a new survey commissioned by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.
The survey, conducted by Beacon Research, also found that the cost of care resulted in skipped or delayed healthcare for nearly half of Massachusetts residents.
“As we emerge from the COVID pandemic, we conducted this poll to better understand what Massachusetts residents believe are the key priorities in healthcare.”
“After two years of intense focus on COVID, cost is again the primary healthcare issue facing Massachusetts residents,” said Chris Anderson, founder and president of Beacon Research. “Consumers strongly believe that this is an urgent issue that health plans, the government, and hospitals should be working to address.”
Key findings from the survey included:
• Massachusetts residents are three times more concerned about cost of care over quality, access, or the COVID-19 pandemic;
• Healthcare costs are challenging family finances for nearly two-thirds of Massachusetts residents, trailing only the daily pressure of gasoline and food price increases;
• Eighty percent of Massachusetts residents think it is highly or extremely important to take action on healthcare costs;
• When asked who they think should be doing more to control healthcare costs, residents cited health plans (87%), government (85%), and hospitals (81%);
• Massachusetts residents are putting off needed healthcare (42%) and prescriptions (26%) because of cost; and
• Younger and affluent residents are the most likely to think care is unaffordable.
“As we emerge from the COVID pandemic, we conducted this poll to better understand what Massachusetts residents believe are the key priorities in healthcare,” said Jay McQuaide, senior vice president and chief Communications officer at Blue Cross. “There is a clear call to action in these survey results for those of us in healthcare to do more and to act with greater urgency to address the unsustainable rise in healthcare costs.”
Blue Cross reported that it is working with others in healthcare to responsibly moderate the growth in healthcare spending. Among the steps the company is taking are collaborating with physicians and hospitals to achieve contracts that reflect the community’s serious concerns related to healthcare costs; advancing next-generation, value-based payments; better supporting members managing chronic conditions; and managing pharmacy spending — the company’s most-used benefit — to ensure members are getting high-quality, clinically appropriate prescription drugs.