In The News > Consumer Survey: U.S. Healthcare, 2020 Election, and More

Consumer Survey: U.S. Healthcare, 2020 Election, and More

Our latest national consumer survey reaching 1,000 registered voters measured feelings about the U.S. healthcare system, the U.S. economy during the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Presidential election and telemedicine.

The survey comes at a crucial decision-making time of the year when the U.S. Presidential election, health insurance open enrollment period, and the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period are fast approaching for many Americans.

The United States Healthcare System

When rating the U.S. healthcare system:

  • 36% said fair.
  • 27% said good.
  • 24% said poor.
  • 11% said excellent.
  • 2% were unsure.

When asked if our healthcare system has changed for the better or worse due to COVID-19:

  • 45% felt it was unchanged.
  • 33% felt it was worse.
  • 14% said it was better.
  • 8% were unsure.

Also of note, 69% said giving more control to patients and doctors is the key to improving the United States healthcare system. Meanwhile, 11% chose giving more control to government officials and bureaucrats. And 20% were not sure how to improve it.

Participants were also asked about the quality of U.S. healthcare services since the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”) was enacted: 31% said the quality of healthcare has gone down, while 29% said it’s gone up.

Lastly, 84% of our respondents said the cost of all health care services, procedures, and medications should be made available in advance to patients.

The 2020 Presidential Election

Our survey also honed in on what’s most important to people in the 2020 U.S. Presidential election: healthcare reform, the economy, civil rights, law and order, government corruption, and our response to COVID-19.

Here’s how our participants responded:

  • 95% said the U.S. economy is an important issue.
  • 91% said government corruption is an important issue.
  • 88% said our nation’s response to COVID-19 is an important issue.
  • 88% said healthcare reform is an important issue.
  • 86% said civil rights is an important issue.
  • 85% said law and order is an important issue.

Health Insurance in the United States

Our survey also gauged feelings on an array of health insurance and employment topics, including consumer feelings about health insurance, a proposal to ban private insurance, and COVID-19 impacts on health insurance.

When it comes to our respondents’ feelings on their health insurance:

  • 38% rated their health insurance as good.
  • 26% rated their health insurance as excellent.
  • 23% rated their health insurance as fair.
  • 10% rated their health insurance as poor.

And when asked what type of health insurance has the best medical care coverage:

  • 40% said employer-sponsored coverage.
  • 21% said Medicare.
  • 19% were unsure.
  • 12% said Medicaid.
  • 9% said Obamacare.

Of note, 25% of our respondents have lost or know someone who lost their health insurance during COVID-19. For those who are employed, 38% are reluctant to switch jobs right now because they want to keep their current health insurance.

Last but not least, the survey gauged a possible proposal to ban all private health insurance companies and require every American to get their coverage through the federal government. When asked about this concept, 15% of respondents strongly favored the proposal, while 35% were strongly opposed.

As for the rest of the group, 19% were somewhat in favor and 18% were somewhat opposed to the proposal.

Employment and Working From Home

Our national survey also covered what’s important when considering or accepting a new job. In the “very important” category:

  • 78% said salary.
  • 66% said health insurance.
  • 49% said time off.
  • 33% said working from home.

Although working from home has the lowest percentage on the “very important” scale, it turned out to be top-of-mind for some respondents. 49% felt that working remotely is better for overall health and well-being, and 40% would take a pay cut to work from home.

Pulse Check on COVID-19 Testing

Over the course of our survey series, we’ve gathered opinions about Coronavirus testing.

Here are the latest findings:

  • 60% were not worried about the cost of Coronavirus treatment - a decrease from the percentage we’ve seen over the past few months.
  • 52% thought frequent COVID-19 testing is the best way to control the spread.
  • 52% thought every child should be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis.

The Latest on Telemedicine

Telemedicine use during the coronavirus pandemic is another topic we’ve kept an eye on. In our latest survey, 79% had not used telemedicine prior to the pandemic, but 43% have used telemedicine during the pandemic.

While highlighting several advantages of telemedicine versus visiting a doctor in person, we asked our respondents which telemedicine perk is most appealing to them.

  • 55% said avoiding the waiting room.
  • 47% said convenient scheduling.
  • 47% said the wait times were better.
  • 38% said getting care from home.

Full Current Events in the United States Survey Results

Click here to download the full results.

Our Survey Methodology

The above survey results were gathered through a national survey of 1,000 registered voters, which was conducted September 4 - 8, 2020. The survey has a margin of sampling error of +/- 3.1 percentage points.

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What you should read next

More than 6.65 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits over the last week alone – a bleak result of the Coronavirus pandemic. But those impacted aren’t just losing their jobs: They’re often losing their health insurance benefits too. And now is the time, especially, when health insurance may be extra crucial to you as you work to maintain good health or need coverage if you do get sick. Before weighing your options, take these steps: Know your budget and what you can afford each month. Make a list of your current health conditions and medications. List any doctors any healthcare providers you want to keep. Determine if you need dental or vision coverage. If you’ve lost your job and job-based insurance coverage, here are six options for you: 1. Join your spouse’s plan You may be able to obtain coverage through your spouse’s job-based health insurance plan, as long as your spouse or partner is already covered, which can be a cost-effective option. Ask your spouse to talk to his or her HR or benefits team to see if this is an option and what the associated healthcare costs may be for you. 2. COBRA You’ll likely receive a COBRA enrollment notice that includes information to continue your health insurance through your employer. Pros: You can keep your current health plan and continue to use your doctors and pharmacists under a policy you’re already familiar with. Your copays and deductibles will remain the same. Your spouses and children are eligible. Cons: You will likely face a higher premium because your employer will not subsidize the cost, and you’ll be charged a 2% administrative fee for continuing the plan. You can stay on COBRA for a limited time – typically up to 18 months. Some employers don’t offer this option, so be proactive and ask about it if you’re interested. 3. ACA (Obamacare) Plans Though the 2020 open enrollment period has ended, losing your job may qualify you for a special enrolment period exception. You can see if you can get coverage for an ACA plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Pros: Offers comprehensive major medical coverage for the 10 essential health benefits. You can’t be denied for pre-existing conditions. Tax credits are available if you meet the qualifications. Cons: You may not qualify to enroll in a plan at this time.* Can be costly if you don’t qualify for a subsidy. Plans can have narrow networks, so it’s wise to check if your doctors and providers are in-network. *Note: U.S. officials are also considering a special enrollment period to help uninsured Americans during the COVID-19 crisis. 4. Short-Term Health Insurance This type of temporary health insurance is designed to be a cost-effective and flexible insurance option if you’ve lost your job and have a gap in health insurance coverage. Pros: Flexible plan duration: Your coverage period can range from 30 to 364 days, with policy renewal of up to three years, depending on your state’s rules. Cancel anytime: You can choose how long you want to be covered (anywhere from 30 to 364 days). Plus, you can cancel your plan anytime. Enroll anytime: You can apply for and enroll in a temporary health insurance plan any time of year. And you can get coverage as soon as the day after you apply. Cons: There’s no coverage for pre-existing conditions. There are limits on prescription drug coverage: Most short-term health plans do not cover prescription drugs, but a few do offer add-on benefits and include prescription drug coverage after a deductible is met. There are limits on the number of covered doctor visits. Does not cover all of the 10 essential health benefits. You can be denied coverage. 5. Medicaid Medicaid is based on your income, family size and asset level. Though each state can set its own requirements, the limit is typically 133% of the Federal Poverty Level. If you do qualify for Medicaid, you’ll receive low-cost health insurance through your state which may cover you for: Inpatient care (hospital-type visits) Outpatient care (doctor’s office visits) Home health care Nursing care Dental, vision and hearing (in many cases) Again, benefits vary by state. And Medicaid should not be confused with Medicare (here’s how to know the differences between the two). 6. Telemedicine (not health insurance – but a way to get care) Though telemedicine isn’t a form of insurance, it’s a helpful service that people are turning to during a time of social distancing and stay-at-home orders. With telemedicine, you pay a monthly membership fee and, when you use the service, you may also pay a charge for the ‘televisit.’ Telemedicine connects you with virtual doctors who can diagnose and treat your non-emergency medical conditions, including: Allergies Asthma Behavioral and mental health services Common cold Fever Flu Men’s health issues Nausea and vomiting Pink eye Sore throat Skin conditions Sinus infections Women’s health issues Telemedicine doctors can also prescribe medications for certain conditions and submit the order to your pharmacy of choice. You can get a telemedicine quote with no obligation to you. We will continue to provide educational resources to you throughout the Coronavirus pandemic: Follow us on Facebook for news about COVID-19, telemedicine, health insurance and more. Visit our feed to get frequent updates on COVID-19 news.
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Get rest. When thinking of healthy habits, sleep often falls low on the list. But chronic sleep deprivation can increase heart disease, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and many other illnesses. Wash your hands. The coronavirus pandemic serves as a major reminder to wash our hands frequently and correctly. Wash your palms, fingernails, and the backs of your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. 2. Reduce Stress Stress often increases with age, leading to a host of health problems. Finding ways to lower your stress can go a long way. There are many simple ways to reduce stress in your daily life. Try things like working out or moving daily, spending more time with friends and family, and reducing your caffeine intake. And don't forget to laugh more. 3. Save Money on Medications The cost of prescription drugs can really take a lot out of your wallet. So if you're used to getting brand-name medications, consider asking your doctor for a generic alternative. It could save you money in the long run. For seniors especially, the cost of medications continues to rise at an alarming rate. One of the simplest ways for seniors to save is to find and compare Prescription Drug Plans (Medicare Part D). Start by comparing quotes, or talking to an insurance agent who is willing to research the medications you take. The right agent will have knowledge of all the pharmacies close to your home and plans available in your area. He or she can also help you identify ways to save on your prescriptions. 4. Use a Health Savings Account (HSA) You may have access to a Health Savings Account (HSA) through your employer (or previous employer). Using an HSA can save you money because your contributions are pre-tax dollars and can accrue interest. And unlike a Flexible Savings Account (FSA), the HSA is owned by you, so it can carry over into your retirement. And there is no deadline on when you can spend the funds. 5. Know The Difference Between Emergency Care and Urgent Care Some people don't know the difference between emergency care and urgent care. But knowing which option to use in a given situation can save you money: Emergency room visits can cost far more than urgent care center visits. Your initial reaction might be to go to the ER when you need medical treatment but can't see your primary care doctor. But in many cases, an urgent care facility will serve you just as well at a lower cost. Start by keeping a list of nearby ERs and urgent care centers handy. An urgent care visit is good for a minor illness or injury, but if your condition is life-threatening, always go to the ER. You might also consider going the telemedicine route, which entails talking to a doctor online, rather than going to an in-person appointment. Telemedicine usage also gained momentumduring the coronavirus pandemic. Overall, turning to telehealth may not only reduce your healthcare costs - it could save you time and keep you out of the waiting room. 6. Ask If All Tests Are Necessary You may think that doctor-ordered tests are standard protocol, but those tests could get expensive fast. Be sure to ask your doctor if all diagnostic tests are necessary for your health. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor if all diagnostic tests are necessary for your health. Here are some questions to get the conversation started. Why is the test being done? What steps does the test involve? How long will it take to get the results? What will the test cost? 7. Request Outpatient Services When Possible Did you know that some inpatient procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis? Often, doctors choose to have a procedure performed on an inpatient basis, simply for the convenience of the patient and the medical staff. Many procedures do require a medically supervised period of recovery, but not all of them. There's nothing wrong with asking your doctor if a procedure can be performed in an outpatient clinic rather than at the hospital. If so, the savings can be significant. 8. Choose Your Doctors Wisely Just because a physician or facility accepts your health insurance or Medicare plan doesn't mean that your costs will be controlled. If you're on Medicare, consider these two steps: First, check if the provider accepts assignment. This means that the provider has agreed to accept the Medicare-approved amount as full payment for services. If your provider doesn't accept assignment, then your out-of-pocket costs may be higher. Second, choose the right doctor for you. The ideal provider has specialized experience with those age 65 and over, which can save you repeated visits to the doctor. One way to shop around for doctors and specialists is through the physician compare feature on Medicare.gov. You can use this tool to compare providers in your area, or you may opt to discuss the topic with a licensed insurance agent. In general, researching and shopping around for the right healthcare provider could save you money over time. 9. Use Your Medicare Benefits It may sound contradictory, but going to the doctor can ultimately lower your healthcare costs. Most insurance plans, including Medicare Advantage, come with certain wellness benefits. Getting regular physicals and patient-specific tests can uncover minor health problems before they become major ones. Let's say a man gets a routine PSA blood test done, which reveals the possibility of low-grade prostate cancer. Early intervention makes the treatment cost far less early on, resulting in fewer trips to the doctor and fewer copays. In other words: lower cost. You Can Save On Healthcare Costs Bottom line: Don't be afraid to do your research, ask the right questions, and incorporate healthy habits to decrease healthcare costs. You can also find more tips to avoid medical debt in this article.
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How Long Does the Coronavirus Disease Last? The duration of coronavirus infection can vary depending on your immune system. Some won’t notice anything, others may experience mild symptoms that last a few days, and some people will face symptoms for 2 weeks or more. There is also an incubation and shedding period where you can be contagious for much longer than the time you were symptomatic, so it is best to continue following federal guidelines for as long as they are in place. Is Coronavirus Contagious? Yes. And people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). 3 things to know: Coronavirus is spread just like the common flu: Person to person between people who are within 6 feet of each other. The virus spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These respiratory droplets can then be inhaled into the lungs or land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. The virus can possibly spread before people show symptoms. But this isn’t thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Is Coronavirus Deadly? Yes. At this time: There have been 7,066 fatalities out of 179,223 known cases, which is a 3.9% mortality rate (data as of March 16, 2020). While that rate is 40 times higher than the common flu at .1%, the actual mortality is likely much lower due to the unreported cases of coronavirus and the lack of testing available in the United States. Time will tell, but the biggest difference between the flu and coronavirus is how much information we have: The flu has caused far more illness and fatalities than COVID-19, an estimated 32 million illnesses and 18,000 deaths this season alone, according to the CDC. But we know very little about COVID-19, which plays into the absence of treatment and vaccines. Meanwhile, the flu vaccine was first licensed for use in 1945. What Are the Coronavirus Signs and Symptoms? Common signs and symptoms of the COVID-19 infection include fever, cough, and respiratory system issues like shortness of breath or labored breathing. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even become fatal. Simply put: If you are experiencing mild symptoms, stay home. If you want to get tested, call your doctor. If you’re experiencing severe symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. How Long Does Coronavirus Live on Surfaces? It’s not yet certain how long the virus survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses -- including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus -- may persist on surfaces for a few hours or several days. This may vary under different conditions such as type of surface, temperature, or humidity of the environment. To protect yourself and others, follow these steps: Clean all surfaces with a simple disinfectant to kill the virus. Thoroughly wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose. Coronavirus Prevention Do Antibiotics Treat Coronavirus? No, antibiotics don’t work against viruses, only bacteria. There’s promising new research that identifies several antiviral drugs that scientists could repurpose to treat Coronavirus infections like teicoplanin, oritavancin, dalbavancin, monensin, and emetine. Is There a Coronavirus Vaccine? There are no vaccines or antiviral drugs to prevent or treat human coronavirus infections (as of March 16, 2020). But there are some vaccines in development that may be FDA approved in 12 months. Japan has a flu drug called favipiravir - developed by a subsidiary of Fujifilm - which produced efficacy in outcomes in clinical trials in Wuhan and Shenzhen involving 340 patients. The patients who received favipiravir turned negative in a median of 4 days after first being infected, compared with 11 days for those who did not receive the drug. X-rays also confirmed improved lung conditions in 91% of the patients who received the drug, compared to 62% who did not. How do I get tested for coronavirus? It’s important to understand the difference between higher-risk groups of people and those who may not be as impacted by the disease. High-risk groups include: Older adults (ages 65 and up) People who have serious underlying medical conditions like: Heart disease Diabetes Lung disease Those under 65 experiencing severe symptoms: Call your doctor if you experience severe symptoms such as: Worsening cough and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath Persistent pain or pressure in the chest New confusion or inability to arouse Bluish lips or face Those under 65 who are not experiencing severe symptoms: It’s very important that those who are not experiencing severe symptoms stay home and follow the CDC’s guidelines. How do I treat coronavirus? Treating Coronavirus comes down to several factors like your age and underlying medical conditions. If you’re under 65 and relatively healthy, the best solution is to stay home and treat it like you would any other cold or flu: 1. Hydrate. Fevers and coughing will deplete your body of water much faster than normal so you need to balance that with water and drinks with electrolytes like Pedialyte. 2. Rest. Your body needs all the strength it can to fight off the virus, so avoid physical exertion. 3. Try over-the-counter meds. Dayquil and Nyquil won’t cure you, but they’ll bring relief to your fever and suppress your cough so you can get appropriate rest. What should I do if I think I have Coronavirus? If you have mild symptoms like a low fever, cough, or sore throat, than you should isolate yourself and stay at home, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Don't go to work, school, or public areas, and avoid using public transportation or ride-sharing services. Separate yourself from other people as much as possible: Stay in a specific room, and use a separate bathroom, if one is available. If you have had Coronavirus and recovered and want to help, the FDA is working on experimental treatments that involve blood transfusions and you can donate blood to them. What is more deadly: the common flu or Coronavirus? The biggest difference between the flu and coronavirus is how much information we have. The flu has caused far more illness and fatalities than COVID-19, an estimated 32 million illnesses and 18,000 deaths this season alone, according to the CDC. But we know very little about COVID-19, which plays into the absence of treatment and vaccines. Meanwhile, the flu vaccine was first licensed for use in 1945. Can my dog or cat get Coronavirus? No. There currently is no evidence that pets such as cats and dogs have been infected or could spread the virus that causes COVID-19. Coronavirus Resources Live updates from Healthinsurance.com on Coronavirus latest news, mortality rates, infection rates, and recovery rates. Monitor Coronavirus statistics in the world. WHO information on Coronavirus. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Always seek the advice of a medical professional for questions concerning your health. Do not delay seeking medical attention.
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