Poll: Half of Americans Delayed Care Due to Pandemic

May 27, 2020

According to a new Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Health Tracking Poll, nearly half (48%) of Americans say someone in their family has skipped or delayed getting some type of medical care in the past three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes 11% who say the person’s condition worsened due to the missed care.

Among those who say they or a family member skipped care, most say they expect to get the care within the next three months (68% of the group, or 32% of all adults). Few say they do not expect to get the care for at least a year or at all.

“Most of those who have put off care due to coronavirus expect to get it soon,” KFF President and CEO Drew Altman said. “If they do, health care utilization may bounce back more quickly than the rest of the economy.”

Most adults (86%) say their physical health has stayed about the same since the outbreak began, but the crisis continues to take a toll on people’s mental health. Four in 10 adults (39%) say worry and stress related to coronavirus has had a negative impact on their mental health. This includes one in eight (12%) who say it has had a “major” negative impact, a slight dip from six weeks ago (19%).

Other key findings from the poll include:

  • With unemployment rising and employer coverage at risk, nearly one in four (23%) adults who are not currently covered by Medicaid also say they or a family member likely will turn to the program in the next year.   
  • Three-quarters (74%) of the public say they would oppose state Medicaid cuts to address budget shortfalls spurred by the coronavirus pandemic and economic downturn, while a quarter (24%) say they would favor them.   
  • Three in 10 (31%) people report at least some difficulties paying their bills or affording routine expenses because of coronavirus.   
  • About one in six who say they have fallen behind in paying credit card or other bills (18%), have had problems paying their utilities (17%), or fallen behind in paying their rent or mortgage (15%).   
  • About one in 10 report problems paying for food (13%), paying medical bills (11%), affording health coverage (9%), or paying for prescription drugs (8%).
  • Those most likely to struggle with getting enough food specifically because of coronavirus include those in families who have lost a job or income (30%), as well as Blacks (30%) and Hispanics (26%).

The poll was conducted May 13-18 among nearly 1,200 adults.