DENVER – Today, the state’s leading advocate for health care consumers, the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI), released an extensive survey of Coloradans regarding their most significant problems in the healthcare system. The survey of more than 970 Colorado adults, part of Altarum’s Consumer Healthcare Experience State Survey, was conducted from December 20, 2018 to January 2, 2019 and included topics on:
Health insurance costs
Prescription drug costs
Affordability of healthcare statewide and in the Denver and rural areas
The quality of healthcare
Government alternatives and solutions
“This is an important study of consumers’ healthcare-related fears and problems as well as their openness to potential solutions, said Adam Fox, Director of Strategic Engagement of CCHI. “It provides valuable information for policy leaders and decision makers as they work to improve healthcare costs, accessibility and quality in both rural areas and the Denver metro area.”
“The poll shows very clearly that Colorado residents want action on healthcare affordability, regardless of their political affiliation, notes Lynn Quincy, Director of the Healthcare Value Hub at Altarum. “We now have a broad measure of healthcare affordability. This measure shows that the rural areas of Colorado are experiencing healthcare affordability burdens at somewhat higher rates than urban Denver area residents.”
Sixty-two percent of rural Coloradans said healthcare is a financial burden, nearly 10 percentage points higher than the overall number of Coloradans citing an affordability burden. Respondents of all political identifications overwhelmingly support requiring insurers, hospitals, and doctors to provide upfront health care cost estimates and increased government oversight of prescription drug costs and price increases.
Nearly one-third said they cut pills in half, skipped doses, or did not fill prescriptions because of costs. The survey also showed that surprise medical bills are hitting Coloradans hard, with 34 percent of privately insured individuals having received medical bills they did not expect. Many of those hit by surprise bills have taken at least one step to dispute or resolve the bill, but 65 percent ended up paying the full amount of the bill.
“Coloradans have spoken and our legislators need to listen, continued Fox. “Coloradans across the political spectrum expect real actions to address the outrageously high cost of insurance and healthcare, including prescription drugs and hospitals. If there was any doubt before this survey, bills creating a public health insurance option, establishing a reinsurance program, protecting consumers from surprise medical bills, importing high-cost drugs from Canada, and creating greater hospital financial accountability should receive overwhelming bipartisan support in our legislature.”
Colorado Consumer Health Initiative is a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that represents 45+ Colorado health organizations with more than 500,000 health care consumer members advocating for high-quality, affordable and equitable health care. In 2018, CCHI received the “Get Wise” Consumer Protection award from the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA).
With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Healthcare Value Hub provides free, timely information about the policies and practices that address high healthcare costs and poor quality, bringing better value to consumers. The Hub is part of Altarum, a non-profit organization with the mission of creating a better, more sustainable future for all Americans by applying research-based and field-tested solutions that transform our systems of health and health care.