Half of the adults in Pennsylvania struggle with health-care affordability, and one in three has difficulty paying medical bills, according to a new report by Pennsylvania Health Access Network and Altarum.
More people than ever before have access to health insurance — the uninsured rate in Pennsylvania has dropped to a historic low of just 5.5 percent. But the cost of care remains a huge barrier for many people.
The new state-specific report offers a window into the specific ways high prices have affected local families, a topic people are often reluctant to discuss, said Antoinette Kraus, executive director of Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN). The Philadelphia-based consumer group provides educational resources about accessing health care and helps people enroll in coverage.
"People think, 'This is just me,' " Kraus said. "It helps show that we're not alone, and we hope that encourages other folks to take action and share their stories."
The data reported by PHAN and Altarum, a health-care consulting firm, are based on a survey of about 1,000 adults in August and September.
Here are some of the findings:
The report paints a grim picture of how health-care costs are burdening families, but Lynn Quincy, director of Altarum's Healthcare Value Hub, said she sees a silver lining in the survey's results: Nine out of 10 respondents, regardless of political affiliation, said they want to see change.