Survey: Most CVD patients can't pay medical expenses

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In an American Heart Association (AHA) survey of 1,105 adults pre-identified with a heart condition, stroke or high blood pressure, 56 percent reported trouble paying their medical expenses, 16 percent had no insurance coverage at all and 29 percent reported that medical costs to treat cardiovascular disease (CVD) consumed most of their savings.

The online survey, conducted by market research company Synovate between Dec. 29, 2009, and Jan. 5, 2010, highlights the problems associated with managing care for CVD.

The survey results showed that two-thirds of participants reported large concerns about the costs of affordable healthcare for those with cardiovascular problems. Also, respondents believed that attaining healthcare coverage for all Americans was important and that investments in heart disease and stroke prevention initiatives were needed, 44 percent and 43 percent, respectively.

Of the 56 percent who reported difficulty paying medical expenses, 48 percent said they had trouble paying bills, 30 percent had piled up thousands of dollars in medical debt, 25 percent reported not being able to afford basic necessitates, such as food or housing, and 9 percent had declared bankruptcy.

Those who reported difficulty paying their health related expenses said they had delayed getting healthcare (46 percent), 43 percent had not filled a prescription, 42 percent had delayed a routine checkup and 28 percent had delayed a recommended medical test or treatment for CVD.

Of the 16 percent who reported having no insurance coverage, 48 percent said this was due to the high cost of premiums, while 37 percent said that their lack of insurance was correlated with job loss or refusal of their employer to cover healthcare costs.

According to the AHA, the survey was administered to promote awareness of problems associated with healthcare costs and treatment. Of the participants 8 percent had stroke, while 92 percent had other CVD problems.