A new survey commissioned by the nonprofit Transamerica Center for Health Studies found that nearly 62% of Americans have been diagnosed with a chronic health condition, with the most common conditions being overweightness, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The third annual study, conducted in August through September of 2015 found that among 4,611 adults ages 18-64:
• White Americans (67%) are the most likely to report being diagnosed with a chronic health condition.
• African-Americans are shown to have the highest rates of high blood pressure and Type 2 Diabetes (24% and 10%, respectively).
• Asian-Americans are generally least likely to report having any chronic health conditions even though 41% of this population has one.
“The growing rates at which white Americans report chronic conditions is alarming but consistent with other recent research studies,” Hector De La Torre, executive director of TCHS, said in a news release “We found that one in four Americans feel prevention and self-care are top priorities, which isn’t surprising given the high rates of chronic health conditions.”
The study found 82% of Americans are able to afford routine health expenses compared to 41% of the uninsured. However, more than two in five Americans overall (41%) report an increase in premium costs over the past one to two years.
“What we’ve seen year after year is that the uninsured, currently 11% of Americans, tend to be the least informed about the [Affordable Care Act] and their lack of knowledge has been their biggest barrier to health insurance,” De La Torre said in the release. “Another major barrier is the cost of health insurance since fewer than half of the remaining uninsured are able to afford a premium of $100 per month. Many of the uninsured could likely qualify either for subsidies through an exchange or Medicaid, but they’re not taking this important step to gain access to coverage.”
Other key findings from the annual TCHS study include:
• Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the number of uninsured Americans has dropped from 21% in 2013 to 11% in 2015.
• Most (85%) Americans are very or somewhat satisfied with the quality of the healthcare system, compared with 73% in November 2013.
• 3 in 10 Americans indicated the ACA directly impacted their health coverage, and those who did tended to report a positive impact.
• Nearly half (48%) of respondents have no strong opinion of the ACA.
• When asked to identify characteristics of the healthcare system today that are most important to them, 54% of respondents selected affordability.
• Most (71%) of respondents said they could afford a $100 monthly premium but 2 in 3 said they couuld not afford a premium of $300 or more per month.
• The most common reason cited among the uninsured for not obtaining health coverage before the deadline is low awareness of the ACA insurance mandate (26% of respondents), 18% of respondents said they do not know how to apply, and 21% say they are willing to pay the tax penalty for not having health insurance.
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