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U.S. consumers say recession has changed their health care spending Posted: June 23rd, 2011

By Maryalene LaPonsie

American consumers are changing their health care spending habits and some are even skipping visits to the doctor in the face of rising medical costs. Those are some of the findings from the fourth annual Deloitte Center for Health Solutions Survey of Health Care Consumers.

"We have been examining consumers' interactions with the health care system since 2008," said Dr. Paul Keckley, Executive Director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, in a statement announcing the survey results. "A new trend has emerged this year suggesting that economic uncertainty has clearly altered spending habits with many consumers reporting an impact on their out-of-pocket health care expenses."

Key findings from U.S. respondents to the poll:

  • 75 percent say the economic slowdown has impacted their health care spending
  • 63 percent say monthly health care expenses limit their household's ability to pay for basics such as groceries and housing
  • 36 percent of prescription drug users have requested generic medications from their physician
  • 25 percent have skipped seeing a physician when sick or injured

In addition, 3 in 4 Americans said they do not have a good understanding of the U.S. health care system. When asked to grade the current system, only 22 percent gave an "A" or "B" rating.