68% Of Americans Worry COVID-19 Will Make HealthCare More Expensive. This Fear May Be Unfounded.

Staff Report

Thursday, May 28th, 2020

Approximately 50% of Americans get health insurance through their employers, but the COVID-19 pandemic has put over 38 million Americans out of work, and left nearly 27 million Americans (including family members) newly without insurance.

With millions of Americans navigating the complexities of the healthcare system to purchase new health insurance coverage and deal with COVID-19, a new survey from ValuePenguin.com has revealed how little they know about how healthcare works, and how worried they are about COVID-19's impact on their healthcare costs.

Key Findings:

  • 68% of Americans said they're worried COVID-19 will make their healthcare more expensive. While it's unknown how the virus will impact healthcare costs in 2021, health care experts interviewed by ValuePenguin predict the crisis will extend into next year and healthcare usage in general will continue to decline, and this could lead to slightly cheaper healthcare costs as a result.

  • 38% of Americans expressed confusion over what is and isn't covered by their health insurance. 28% said they were especially confused by choosing the right plan for their needs. More worryingly, 35% of Americans believe they can make changes to their health insurance coverage at any time after they purchase a plan, and not just during a qualifying life event.

  • Only 5% of Americans know that the CARES Act doesn't pay for COVID-19 Treatment (the bill only covers the cost of coronavirus testing).  A full 59% of survey respondents incorrectly said the law included medical treatment, and 36% said they didn't know what the CARES act covers.

  • As the 2020 election looms, views are divided on availability and quality of healthcare. 72% of respondents believe health insurance should be mandatory for all Americans, but views are split on who should pay. 37% will only accept mandatory coverage that coverage comes at no cost to the individual, while 36% think it should be mandatory regardless of whether coverage comes at a personal expense.

  • Americans are apprehensive about the quality of government-sponsored health care: Nearly half of the surveyed respondents believe that government-sponsored health insurance options, such as Medicaid, Medicare or plans subsidized through ACA marketplaces, don't offer the same quality as private plans. Just 19% of the respondents think government-sponsored health insurance offer better quality care than private options.

"Whether you're newly without health insurance coverage after being furloughed or laid off, or just concerned about the possibility of forthcoming medical bills, you can take steps to stay financially protected during the coronavirus pandemic." said Sterling Price, health insurance analyst at ValuePenguin.com. He added, "Budget for possible extra healthcare costs, and be aware of the trade-offs you need to make while selecting a health insurance plan from the dozens of options in your state marketplace."

ValuePenguin.com Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,136 Americans, with the sample base proportioned to represent the overall population. The survey was fielded in May 2020. To view the full report, visit: https://www.valuepenguin.com/coronavirus-showing-how-little-americans-know-about-their-health-insurance