42% of Americans Skip Doctor Appointments Because of the Cost. Here's What to Do Instead

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  • One study found that 42% of Americans skip doctor appointments because of cost concerns.
  • Ignoring important medical exams can be dangerous for your health.
  • Instead, switching to generic medications, being seen at low-cost healthcare clinics, and using cash instead of insurance are ways to lower your healthcare costs.

Skipping medical appointments due to cost concerns can be harmful to your health.

Medical care in the United States is expensive. For this reason, many Americans delay critical medical appointments or avoid them altogether. A recent survey found that 42% of Americans skip doctor appointments because of the cost. If this is something that you can relate to, there may be other ways to get affordable care without putting your health at risk.

Unlike many other countries, the United States doesn't have a universal health care system. Unless you have good health insurance coverage provided by your employer or pay for your own plan, it can be costly to seek medical care.

Even those with health insurance struggle to afford their medical bills. That's because not all health insurance plans cover most of the costs associated with exams and procedures.

42% of Americans skip going to the doctor

A survey by MyVision.org found that 42% of Americans surveyed have skipped a medical appointment due to cost concerns. This was the number one cause given for putting off important doctor visits.

If you're behind on medical appointments, you're not alone. The same study also found that 44% of people are overdue for checkups.

While it can be expensive to go to the doctor, putting off essential appointments can be a bad move for your health, and in many cases, health issues may worsen if they're disregarded.

Seven ways to get more affordable medical care

If you're not in the best financial situation right now, you may be taking steps to avoid additional debt and unexpected medical bills. Instead of putting your health at risk by avoiding appointments, here are a few ways to get the medical care you need at a more affordable price.

1. Use cash instead of insurance

Some doctors accept cash pay, which can be a great option if you have no insurance or have insurance with limited benefits. Often, these cash rates are more affordable than going through insurance. It's worthwhile to check with medical providers in your community to see if they take cash payments and to learn about their cash pay rates.

2. Try generic medications

If your prescription costs are hurting your budget and you're taking a name-brand medication, check with your doctor to see if you can switch to the generic version of the drug. In most cases, generic medicines offer significant savings and the same benefits as brand-name drugs.

3. Look for low-cost healthcare clinics in your area

There may be local resources that you can utilize to lower your healthcare costs. While many of these low-cost healthcare programs are income-based, they could help you keep more money in your bank account if you qualify.

4. Don't ignore telemedicine appointments

Most medical providers offer telemedicine appointments for simple, routine care needs. This can be a great way to get help quickly without waiting to be seen in person. If you have health insurance, some insurance plans offer telemedicine appointments at no cost.

5. Consider alternative clinics for minor care needs

A visit to the emergency room can be pricey, with or without insurance. For last-minute, non-emergency health care needs, it can be beneficial to go to urgent care clinics. Call and ask about rates in advance if you're concerned about costs.

6. Take advantage of free community health screening events

Many organizations put together free health screening events to benefit the community. Examples include free breast cancer screenings, blood pressure checks, dental cleanings, and vision exams. By going to these free events, you can ensure you're in good health.

7. Skip the retail pharmacy

Another way to take advantage of more affordable prescription prices is using alternative services like Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company to get your medication. You may be overpaying at the retail pharmacy. While not all popular medications are available, many are.

While it's essential to stay on top of your personal finance goals and to take steps to avoid debt, don't ignore your health because of financial worries. Your health is extremely important.

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