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

By: - September 23, 2022 3:03 pm

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 healthcare or addiction treatment, and struggling to pay medical bills.  (Getty Images)

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. 

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Camalot Todd
Camalot Todd

An award-winning, investigative and enterprise reporter, Camalot Todd has over seven years experience in print, digital, radio and TV journalism. She covered mental and behavioral health in New York for Spectrum News 1 Buffalo through the national service program, Report For America, where she won the Mental Health Advocates of WNY Advocacy Award in 2020 for her coverage on mental health stigma. She also served as an inaugural member of the Report For America Corps Advisory Board Member, 2021-2022. Previously, she reported on community issues in Las Vegas, including a long-term project on underage sex trafficking, for the Las Vegas Sun and its sister publication, Las Vegas Weekly. For the Sun, she wrote a pathbreaking investigative piece called, “Children on the Cusp: The transition from foster care to adulthood is leaving some behind.” The piece won the Nevada Press Association best investigative story of the year and named Camalot the Best Community Reporter of 2017. She also worked as a reporter for KUNV radio and is a graduate of University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Camalot was selected for National Press Foundation Opioid and Addiction Fellow 2021 and led the Syracuse Press Club's Journalism Lab as an educator from 2021-2022.